Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Awarded Healthy Schools contract


We are pleased to announce that My Body Beautiful has been awarded a Healthy Schools contract. We will be delivering Body Image + Media Literacy workshops to secondary schools across the contracting borough.

While we have already delivered workshops to numerous schools and hundreds of pupils, this is our largest single contract to date.  


Friday, February 22, 2013

Fat legs

In this post by Kim Bongiorno; she describes how she informed her young 5 year old daughter that she would not always be thin.

Furthermore, there was every chance that the little girl would develop fat thighs, just like Kim, in years to come.

It’s an educational yet gentle approach, aimed at teaching her daughter to love her body.

As is often the case with young children, her daughter takes the information in her stride …..


“Mama, you have fat legs! Not like mine -- look at mine."

She then ran her hand along her twiggy little leg……

"Good job, you're right! There is more fat on my legs than yours. When you become a grown-up, you get all sorts of beautiful curves like this. Isn't that exciting?"
She looked at her little legs, then mine, then back to hers. Then she smiled. "I'm gonna look like you when I'm a growned-up?"

"Yep. And I looked like you when I was 5. It's kind of fun getting to look different when you get older, dontcha think?"

Read Post


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chick-lit and body image

Anyone who reads this blog will know that one of its main aims and challenges is to improve the body image and confidence of our readers.

This being the case, a US study (Virginia’s Polytechnic Institute and State University) made interesting reading. The objective of the research entitled ‘Does this book make me look fat?’ was to investigate the effect that books (female centred 'Chick-lit') had on a woman’s body image.

"Body image research frequently looked at how visual images of thin women negatively affected women's body esteem”, said co-author Melissa Kaminski . [However] “no research had examined how textual representations of body esteem and body weight affected female readers' body esteem."

In the study, two books (Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed and Laura Jensen Walker’s Dreaming in Black and White) in which the main character had a healthy body weights, but low self-esteem were chosen. Next, text was selected from each book and rewritten into 9 different versions. One version said, ‘I'm 5'4", 140lb and a size six’. Another variant said, ‘I'm 5'4", 105lb and a size zero’.

159 female students were then quizzed about their body image and confidence while reading each version of text.

Result: Students reported that they felt “significantly” more concerned about their body when the female lead character is overly concerned about their weight, body shape and lacked confidence. Students also felt “significantly” less sexually attractive if the character was thin.

Following the exercise, researchers concluded that female focussed books, could increase the body image and self esteem anxieties of their readers.

The authors said, “scholars and health officials should be concerned about the effect chick lit novels might have on women's body image."


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weight in deprived and affluent communities

On January 23rd, we posted a blog titled, 'Weight related to background'.

In the posted we discussed Anna Soubry, the Conservative minister for public health and MP for Broxtowe Nottinghamshire, interview with the Daily Telegraph.

In the interview Mr Soubry stated:

"When I go to my constituency, in fact when I walk around, you can almost now tell somebody's background by their weight. Obviously, not everybody who is overweight comes from deprived backgrounds but that's where the propensity lies.”

New research (published in International Journal of Obesity), an alliance between Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds City Council and the Education Authority, casts doubt on the ‘economic depravity linked to obesity' argument that MS Soubry put forward.

The objective of the three year 2005-2007 study was to identify links between the level of deprivation in an area and weight in children. It looked at 13,333 Leeds school children aged 11-12 and measured body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio. It found that economic "middle-affluent" communities were more overweight than poorer or richer areas. The evidence was particularly noticeable when looking at girls.

Dr Claire Griffiths, who led the study, stated: "Although the prevalence of obesity is higher than desirable across the whole city, it appears that children living in the most deprived and most affluent areas of the city are at the lowest risk, with boys and girls following different patterns.

In a very short period of time we have had two contradictory headlines; each attempting to identify the most overweight economic related communities (children) in the UK.

One thing both sides agree on; is that childhood obesity levels are increasing, in deprived and affluent communities alike.

The more research that is conducted the better will be our understanding of the underlying causes. Once identified, appropriate steps can be taken to address them. E.g. Is the weight difference between boys and girls related to levels of activity?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Quotes from celebrity teen influencers

Here are 8 body image and self esteem related quotes from celebrities who are in a strong position to influence teens:-

Rihanna - Mail Newpaper :
"You shouldn't be pressured into trying to be thin by the fashion industry, because they only want models that are like human mannequins. But you have to remember that it's not practical or possible for an everyday woman to look like that. Being size zero is a career in itself so we shouldn't try and be like them. It's not realistic and it's not healthy."

Taylor Swift -MSN:
"I definitely have body issues, but everybody does. When you come to the realization that everybody does that ... even the people that I consider flawless ... then you can start to live with the way you are. I've read interviews with some of the most beautiful women who have insecurities. And you look at them and you're like, 'How do you have? Name one thing wrong with yourself,' and they could name a handful."

Jennifer Lawrence - ‘The Hunger Games & X-Men’ - ELLE :
"I'm never going to starve myself for a part. I don't want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I'm going to skip dinner. That's something I was really conscious of during training, when you're trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed."

Miley Cyrus -Twitter, respondiong to negative tweets about her body:
“By calling girls like me fat, this is what you're doing to other people....I love MYSELF & if you could say the same you wouldn't be sitting on your computer trying to hurt others."

Lea Michele - ‘Glee’ - GQ Magazine:
"I was one of the only girls in my high school that didn't get one[a nose job]. And if anybody needed it, I probably did. But my mom always told me, growing up, 'Barbra Streisand didn't get a nose job. You're not getting a nose job.' And I didn't... That's why I'm proud to be on a positive show and to be a voice for girls and say, 'You don't need to look like everybody else. Love who you are.' "

Amber Riley - ‘Glee‘- Entertainment Weekly:
“I'm not going to conform, and hurt myself, and do something crazy to be a size 2."

Ariana Grande - ‘Victorious’ - Shape Magazine:
“Too many young girls have eating disorders due to low self-esteem and a distorted body image. I think it’s so important for girls to love themselves and to treat their bodies respectfully.”

Victoria Justice - ‘iCarly’ & ‘The Boy Who Cried Werewolf' - Seventeen Magazine:
"I think there’s a perception out there that people know me based on these glamorous photos they see of me in magazines, but I have about two hours of hair and makeup and then people to dress me, to make me look even better, in those pictures. There’s really so much more to me than that."


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Fat Twin

This month’s article details Mia’s (not her real name) negative body image and subsequent eating disorder.  It is a true account as recounted by Mia’s mother.

The twins were in the same class. They were having a citizen ship lesson on diversity and the differences that exists between people.

To make things a little harder and more interesting, the teacher decided to make the twins the focus of the discussion, because they look very similar.
He wanted to avoid obvious differences like race, sex, religion and hair colour dominating the discussion. He wanted to focus on more subtle differences like, personality, interests and skills.

Even though they look a lot like each other, most of the kids that responded said that they were different because Mia was bigger … fatter than Olivia.
Not everyone used those words, but that was clearly what they meant. When Mia came home, she was upset and embarrassed, because she felt that she was fat and unattractive. She saw herself and believed that everyone else also saw her as the “fat twin”.

Read Article


Monday, February 04, 2013

The influence of peer pressure on body image

The media and peer pressure are the two most common and significant factors that influences the body image of women and teens that we have talked to. Which one, peer pressure or body image, wields the most influence?

A new study by Texas A and M International University, that set out to answer this question have released their findings. Details have been published in the Springer's Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

The team lead by Christopher J. Ferguson, compared the impact of peer pressure and body image on a girls general level of satisfaction and more specifically, on body dissatisfaction and signs of eating disorders.

The study involved 237 Hispanic girls, aged 10 to 17. To determine media influence, the girls were each asked to identify 3 of their favourite TV programs and rate females according to how attractive they thought they were.

The influence of peer pressure was ascertained by first calculating each individual’s weight and height. The girls were then asked to detail how they felt their bodies compared to others in their peer groups and how the comparison made them feel. Finally, they were quizzed about their social networking habits. A 2012 Glamour survey found that 4% of 18 to 24-year-old females retouched photos of themselves prior to uploading them to social networks.

The study was repeated with a subset of the initial group (101 girls) six months later.

On analysis, researchers found that media exposure and social networking activities did not enable them to predict the levels of body dissatisfaction or eating disorders. However the influence of peer pressure made predictions possible. They concluded:

"Our results suggest that only peer competition, not television or social media use, predict negative outcomes for body image. This suggests that peer competition is more salient to body and eating issues in teenage girls."