Body image is the mental picture a person has of his or her body. It includes their attitudes and feelings about their body and how they think others see them. A healthy body image means feeling good about yourself and taking care of your body.
Body image and the media
Images in magazines, movies, music videos, TV shows and ads show what are supposed to be “ideal” people. Often we think we should look like these people. Comparing yourself to people in these pictures is hard on your self-image and is unrealistic.
The reality is that even the people in those pictures don’t look like that in real life! Their images are enhanced with props, lighting angles, and computer techniques, like photo-shopping. Shapes and sizes are altered and body features from photos of different people are combined to create the "perfect" image.
Strive for a healthy lifestyle
Eating healthy, well-balanced meals and participating in regular physical activity helps us to feel good. It also helps us to get all the nutrients we need for growth and to be active.
A person with a healthy body image:
- Accepts that healthy bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Appreciates their strengths and weaknesses.
- Is able to focus on things other than how they look.
- Does not believe messages that suggest that people need to be a certain size and shape in order to be happy and successful.
Weight loss diets are NOT recommended
Dieting can be harmful and may interfere with healthy growth. It can
also lead to problems with learning and mental, emotional and social
Puberty and body image
During puberty, youth grow quickly and experience many changes. This can cause issues with body image, especially if children and teens are growing and changing differently than their friends. Growth and weight gain are normal during puberty. However, children and teens grow at different rates. Some will grow taller first, while others will gain weight before growing taller. It is important to remember that genetics and the environment are the biggest influencers of body shape and size.
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Source: Middlesex-London Health Unit. 'Healthy Body Image'. Retrieved from: https://www.healthunit.com/.