Body Image

  • One study reports that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.
  • 50% of teens are “self-conscious” about their bodies; 26.2% report being “dissatisfied”. By age 60, 28.7% of women feel “dissatisfied” and 32.6% feel “self-conscious” about their bodies
  • 45.5% of teens report considering cosmetic surgery, 43.7% of women over 60 report considering cosmetic surgery
  • When asked “Are you happy with your body?” 43.2% of teens answered “yes,” 37.7% of women in their 60s answered “yes”.
  • 40-60% of elementary school girls are concerned about their weight or about becoming “too fat”.
  • A majority of girls (59%) reported dissatisfaction with their body shape, and 66 percent expressed the desire to lose weight.
  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are ‘”sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
  • Studies at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts found that 70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines.

How to help/Body image:

  • De-emphasize numbers. Neither weight nor Body Mass Index tell us anything substantial about body composition and health. Eating habits, activity patterns, and other self-care choices are much more important.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Your physiology is unique to you; you can’t get a sense of your body’s needs and abilities with someone else’s body as a reference point. And the research has shown that frequent comparing tends to increase negative body image.

Eating Disorders

  • Fifteen percent of young women have substantially disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.
  • Studies indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18 percent of women and 0.4 percent of men have a history of bulimia and that as many as 1 in 100 females between the ages of 12 and 18 have anorexia.
  • According to The Center for Mental Health Services 90 percent of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • For females between fifteen to twenty-four years old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is twelve times higher than the death rate of all other causes of death.
  • 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.
  • The rate of development of new cases of eating disorders has been increasing since 1950.