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Millions Of Teenagers Worry About Body Image And Identify Social Media As A Key Cause

22/03/24, 12:00

The online survey of British teenagers aged 13 to 19 was commissioned as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme of body image this year.

The online survey of British teenagers aged 13 to 19 was commissioned  as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme of body  image this year.


It found that almost one-third (31%) of teenagers felt ashamed in relation to their body image.


Four in ten teenagers (40%) said images on social media had caused them to worry about body image.


More than a third of British teenagers (35 per cent)  had stopped eating at some point or restricted their diets due to  worrying about their body image.

Four in ten teenagers (40 per cent) said that things their friends have said have made them worry about their body image.


Thirty-five per cent of teenagers worried about  their body image often or every day, and 37 per cent of teenagers felt  upset and ashamed about their body image.


Jane Caro, Programme Lead for Families, Children and Young People at  the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Our survey has shown that millions  of young people in Britain are worrying about their body image. Worries  about body image can lead to mental health problems and, in some  instances, are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

“It is also clear from our survey that teenagers identify images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about their body image. Conversations with their friends also have a major role in causing young people to worry.”


The Foundation report “Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies” highlights the range of commercial and advertising pressures on body  image which are contributing to mental health problems for millions of  young people and calls for immediate action across all aspects of  society to safeguard the health of teenagers as they grow up.

Jane said, “Action starts in our families and homes with how we talk  about our bodies and about eating, but we also need more regulation of  advertising promoting idealised and unattainable body images.  Social  media companies should urgently take practical steps to ensure that the  content they promote does not exacerbate body image concerns.”

To mark the week, the Foundation is launching a specially designed body image module at the Ravensbourne School in Bromley to be used as part of its Peer-to-Peer mental health programme in schools.


The charity’s Make It Count education campaign is currently lobbying  for peer-led mental health programmes to be introduced in schools to ensure that positive mental health is at the centre of every child’s  education.

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