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This guide will help you better understand body image issues in men, women, and children. It provides suggested resources and other information for beginning research on this topic.
Last Updated: Feb 17, 2017 URL: http://libguides.cccneb.edu/bodyimage Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Body Image?

Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:

  • What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
  • How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
  • How you sense and control your body as you move.  How you feel in your body, not just about your body. 

Negative Body Image

  • A distorted perception of your shape--you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
  • You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
  • You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
  • You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.

Positive Body Image

  • A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
  • You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
  • You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
  • You feel comfortable and confident in your body.

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

 

Impact of Body Image

Negative Effects of a Poor Body Image


A poor body image has been related to:

  • the onset of depression
  • eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia
  • poor development of interpersonal skills
  • negative self-esteem/self-worth
  • unhealthy exercise regimes
  • substance abuse
  • unhealthy diet

Flinders University

 

Encouraging a Positive Body Image

It is important for parents and teachers to recognize the importance of developing a positive body image in children by:

  • setting a good, healthy example
  • accepting all differences, whether physical, cultural, religious or gender
  • encouraging healthy eating and participation in exercise
  • being aware of children who may develop negative body image and providing support

Flinders University

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