Friday, July 30, 2010

Be You workshop

Last week we saw Gok Wan (How to look good naked) speak to Ed balls about Gok's body image campaign. The campaign is aimed at obliging schools to teach teenagers about body image and body confidence.

Whilst in government Labour had planned to make' body image' a compulsory part of the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum.

The new Conservatives government are opposed to making PSHE a statutory requirement and plan to extend the opt-out to academies and free schools in the bill (this week).

Despite the different political viewpoints, it is undeniable that we are facing a negative body image epidemic in the UK. Long detailed statistical proof is not required, simply ask a group of teenagers or women 'do you like what you see in the mirror'? The replies will speak for themselves.

Our 'Be You' Body Image & Self Esteem workshop has been specially designed to look at this issue. Generally speaking, the workshop has been well received and the initial feedback is encouraging.

Teacher comments:
     “Content was good, very clear.”
     “Very interesting and good facts on the presentation (and sources).

Pupil comments:
    “Very interesting”.
    “Really helpful. Thank you for coming to our school”.

NB. The workshop program has ended.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Block buster portions

Yesterday I took my daughter to see 'Toy Story 3'.  We took our place in the queue and found ourselves standing behind a typical family of four.  Unusually, the queue allowed us to purchase everything we needed, tickets, 3D glasses, drinks and confectionary.

The children in front of us were aged about 9 (boy) and 7 (girl). The mother ordered a family ticket, 4 large family size bags of chocolate, a small popcorn,  2 large and 1 small fizzy drinks (full sugar). She handed each child a bag of chocolate and a large drink.

We all know that during a film, in the dark with your mind focussed on what is happening on screen, it's very easy to eat without thinking. I'm sure that before the credits roll,  only empty bags and cups will remain.

I shudder to think of the total 'snack' calories that each person, the children in particular consumed.  e.g. A 170g bag of Minstrels (selected by one of the children) have 503 calories per 100 grams, 855 in total. A large Coke contains approximately 328 calories;  that's a whopping 1183 calories.

With all the recent talk about the rising levels of obesity in children  my visit to the cinemas yesterday made it clear better education for parents is urgently required. 


Monday, July 26, 2010

Plus size school uniforms

The recent controversy over Marks and Spencer's new uniform range, that extends to fit plus-size children as young as three is certainly heated.

Marks and Spencer's sells more school wear than any other store on the High Street. They are not the first to sell plus size school uniforms, but are following the lead set by others such as Next and Bhs.   Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: "This is the actual commercial recognition of what we have known for some time - obesity in pre-schoolers is building up. Now 27% of entrants to primary schools are overweight or obese."

The debate is centred around the fact that the uniform should not be necessary, because young children should not be obese. In an ideal world every child would be a healthy weight, but we do not live in an ideal world. 

Surely, it is preferable for all children to dress identically and comfortably; rather than making larger children stick out,  because they have been forced to dress differently or badly due to ill fitting clothing. 

Speaking as a parent, I am not surprised that parents have asked Marks and Spencer's to introduce larger uniforms.  If my children were overweight, I would happily added my name to the list.

Now that the uniforms are on sale, its time to educate parents on what to feed their children and about the health benefits of exercise.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weight-loss supplements

Over dependence on slimming supplements may cause you to ignore the real cause of obesity, reported Sian Porter, nutritional expert and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

The reason, she argued, was that over-the-counter products were only short-term and failed to address the reasons why a person has become overweight.

Sian believes that education about healthy living, eating, and exercise was the only way to stop many people from feasibly taking supplements for rest of their lives, with no significant benefit.  

"I know from experience" said Dr Miriam Stoppard commenting on the report,"professional and personal that the most successful long-term weight loss comes from adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits, not faddy diets or other quick fixes. Sadly, anyone who won't accept that is putting themselves at risk of exploitation".

Its clear that there will never be a shortage of people looking for a quick fix, which the diet industry is more than willing to provide.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fake is best?

Yesterday, during the delivery of our body image and self-esteem workshop to a group of year 10 girls, I decided to ask about the Channel 4 programme ‘The ugly face of beauty’  (last Friday's blog).

One of the girls had seen it, so I asked her if she agreed or disagreed with the programme's pupils who'd preferred the appearance of very obvious fake breast to large natural ones.

The reason given in the programme was that fake breasts allowed you to walk down the beach and not be embarrassed by your body. The fake breasts they insisted looked a lot perkier. One of the boys said he found them “more beautiful”.

If fake is better, then the pressure to undergo surgery will only increase. It is therefore not surprising that our largest cosmetic surgery clinic carried out 160 breast augmentation surgeries on teenagers last year.

I digress, back to my classroom conversation. Her reply to my “is fake better” question was disappointing to say the very least. She said that fake breasts were better because they didn’t sag. “Its all about what boys like”, she clarified helpfully.

“Don’t you think”, I asked “that girls should value themselves by who they are rather than what boys think they should be? “
“Yes”, she admitted soberly, “but that’s the way it is”.

I looked at her and the group in front of me and was suddenly filled with motherly compassion. They were great kids, very polite and it was disconcerting to realise that boys had taken on such importance, so early in their lives.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The ugly face of beauty

Tuesday’s 'The ugly face of beauty' presented by Dr Christian Jessen on Channel 4, raised more questions than it answered; for me anyway.

Why would 90% of the women who visited Jessen’s fake surgery, a temporary Portakabin that appeared overnight in their local high-street; willing signed up for cosmetic surgery no questions asked? If they couldn’t really afford it, no problem, finance with payments as low as £7 were quickly snapped up.    No questions about the surgeon, clinic, risks or aftercare were raised.  

The realisation that women would eagerly offer their bodies up for surgery, unconcerned about any possible repercussions, was disturbing to say the least.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Accept yourself ... Love yourself

A video to help you accept yourself just the way you are.


Friday, July 09, 2010

NHS apology letter

The department of health was forced to apologise this week after sending a letter to the parents of an 11 year old boy,  suggesting that he was overweight for his age and sex. The parents were upset and said that they viewed the letter as offensive and that it judged their parenting skills.

In a shocked response to the letter the child weighed himself at home and found that he weighted more than stated in the letter. His mother stressed that this "made him anxious straight away". So much so that he "refused to eat his dinner that night."

The body father accused the Department of Heath of "scaremongering". "Not only does it say you are fat", he said, "but there is a possibility you are going to get cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease."

Barnsley PCT apologised and said it was following national policy.

This is yet another example of a well meaning government policy having an unintended negative outcome. Before sending out any more formal looking letters, the NHS should investigate the effect that telling a child that they are too fat will have on their long term body image and self esteem. 


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

New Logo

This week we upgraded the entire site with our new logo.


The logo is a  full colour logo that uses the symbol of a person jumping, giving the expression of joy and freedom. The ribbons flowing from the person suggest movement and celebration.

The blue for the text highlights confidence and security. This brand symbolises the feeling of accepting yourself and the burden that is lifted and the joy that the release brings.

We hope you like it as much as we do.


Monday, July 05, 2010

One in 4 Britains too fat

ONE IN FOUR BRITONS ARE TOO FAT  shouted the front page of the Daily Express on Saturday.

This was followed by a second headline on an inside page stating  'How obesity blights Britain'.

The figures the paper said were "shocking" and worse still, experts were predicting that obesity will hit 5.5 million by 2030.

Alarmist (guaranteed to upset everyone apart for the skeletally thin among us) or a reasonable response to a genuine problem?


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