Young people now willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to look good

New research shows that low body confidence and appearance anxiety in children as young as 11 is now a critical issue.
17 January 2017
Young people now willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to look good
New research shows that low body confidence and appearance anxiety in children as young as 11 is now a critical issue.

New research released today by YMCA England as part of the Be Real campaign has revealed some shocking facts about body anxiety in secondary school pupils across the UK.

The new report sampled 2,018 young people between the ages of 11-16 and found that 52% have low body confidence and often worry about their appearance. Furthermore, 36% of young people would do ‘whatever it takes’ to look good - including cosmetic surgery.

 

36% of young people would do ‘whatever it takes’ to look good - including cosmetic surgery

More than ever, young people are being faced with increasing social pressure to look good, and this has manifested into an unhealthy obsession of social media appearance. The social landscape has become so diverse that it is hard to keep on top of its ever changing dynamic. In September 2016, another report was released citing that more girls are unhappy with their bodies than ever before and it seems as though the problem is growing.

Speaking about the new research, Chief Executive of Central YMCA Rosi Prescott said:  “As uncovered in our World of Good report, and supported further by this research, one of the biggest issues affecting young people is, and continues to be, negative body image. Young people are even more vulnerable today with the rise in social media, which means we’re all responsible for combatting the anxiety that surrounds this topic.”  

 

"Young people are even more vulnerable today with the rise in social media, which means we’re all responsible for combatting the anxiety that surrounds this topic"
Rosi Prescott, Chief Executive of Central YMCA

The study found that one of the biggest side affects of body image anxiety was that young people begin to isolate themselves from their family and friends, so, don’t seek any help or support. According to the research, only 48% of young people had learned about body confidence in school and of those who had, 76% said it made them feel more positive about themselves.

This is the reason for a call to action by the Be Real campaign that we should all be promoting the fact that body confidence shouldn’t be an off limits subject. It should be talked about, especially in schools. Students should be educated on this topic and we all need to create an environment that encourages support and openness.

Rosi added: “As part of our new wellbeing campaign Eudaimonia!, we’re raising awareness of the link between mental and physical wellbeing. We promote health in mind, body and spirit which means furthering the understanding that we’re not all one size or one shape. 

“Whilst a sometimes unachievable physical appearance is the priority for young people, we celebrate being healthy and happy, which needs to be the ultimate goal.”

Read more about the Be Real campaign here and more about our Eudaimonia! report here.

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