School children need compulsory body image lessons, say MPs
Published: 30th May 2012 06:08:40
All school children should take part in compulsory body image and self-esteem lessons, MPs have recommended.
The All Party Parliamentary group on body image made the case after its study found two out of three people in the UK are not happy with their body.
It also found girls as young as five now worry about how they look, while cosmetic surgery rates have increased by nearly 20% since 2008.
Media images of unrealistic bodies were said to be largely to blame.
The MPs said children were often reflecting their parents' own anxieties, as well as being bombarded by images in the media, advertising and celebrity culture of a stylised ideal that 95% of people would be physically unable to match.
They said body image was the main worry for one in five boys and one in three girls as young as 10 - who said it was the biggest cause of bullying.
The Reflections on Body Image report, published by MPs and the health charity Central YMCA following a three-month inquiry, found a growing body of evidence that body dissatisfaction in the UK is on the rise.
Body image dissatisfaction in the UK has reached an all-time high and the pressure to conform to an unattainable body ideal is wreaking havoc on the self-esteem of many people”
It was a key factor in health and relationship problems and low-self esteem. It was also shown to be a major block to progression at school and work.
Body dissatisfaction, the report showed, is a problem affecting all of society, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, body size or shape.
However, young people and children were found to be particularly vulnerable to anxiety over their bodies.
While evidence suggested that concerns were often picked up from parents, the peer group became a stronger influence by secondary school age.
Dieting was used by around half of girls and up to one third of boys to lose weight.
In response to the findings, members of the diet industry admitted people had "unrealistic expectations" about weight loss.
The inquiry - which heard from academics, charities, the public and other experts - also found that:
Recommendations made by the report aimed to change public perceptions and behaviour, and included:
The All Parliamentary Group's chairwoman, Jo Swinson MP, said body image dissatisfaction in the UK had "reached an all-time high."
"The pressure to conform to an unattainable body ideal is wreaking havoc on the self-esteem of many people."
Central YMCA chief executive Rosi Prescott also said there was something "seriously wrong in society when children as young as five are worrying about their appearance, based on the messages they are seeing all around them".
She added there was a collective responsibility change society's attitude toward body image, in order to "prevent damage to future generations".
At 01:59:02 in EnglandGlastonbury Festival has been granted a new ten-year licence.
At 01:40:57 in HeadlinesWhat's it like to live in the poorest part of the poorest country in the European Union?
At 01:39:03 in HeadlinesConservative Sir Peter Tapsell has asked more questions of David Cameron at his weekly Prime Minister's Questions sessions than any other backbench MP, BBC research has shown.
At 01:34:13 in WorldNigerian President Goodluck Jonathan wants the world to believe he and his government are serious about ending corruption. But two recent events have sent out the opposite message.
At 01:33:14 in EnglandPupils at St Andrew's Primary School, which is due to close in August 2015, have been allocated places at other Guernsey schools.
At 01:27:37 in WorldTwo years after the murder of an outspoken female councillor ushered in new legislation outlawing political violence against women in Bolivia, campaigners say a culture of harassment remains, as Paula Dear reports from La Paz.
At 01:23:35 in WorldRussia's move into part of Ukraine has caused genuine unease in neighbouring countries like Poland and the three Baltic states and a sense that they also are under threat.
At 01:18:33 in EnglandDorset Police's proposals to reduce station opening hours and close front desks have been put on hold until 2015.
At 00:57:36 in WorldFrom the sharp and potentially painful points on a kidney stone, to a head louse egg firmly glued to a hair follicle - the annual Wellcome Image Awards celebrate the best in science imaging talent and techniques. Take a close-up look at some of the winning images.
At 00:52:03 in WorldIt's a busy Monday night at Whispers strip bar in the oil boomtown of Williston, North Dakota.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. School children need compulsory body image lessons, say MPs [Online] (Updated 30th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431731/School-children-need-compulsory-body-image-lessons-say-MPs [Accessed 12th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
Women who suffer swelling following breast cancer treatment should be encouraged to exercise, say experts.
Glastonbury Festival has been granted a new ten-year licence.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is facing "at least a few weeks" out after injuring his hamstring in Tuesday's Champions League exit at Bayern Munich.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan wants the world to believe he and his government are serious about ending corruption. But two recent events have sent out the opposite message.
There has been a sixth death at a Belfast hospital where treatment delays could have been a contributing cause of death, the BBC has learned.