Body image alarm bells

BODY image disorders are rife in Australia if a new survey is to be believed.

It sends out alarm bells for all mothers who need to build self-esteem in their daughters regarding physical appearance.

According to research conducted by Dove Australia, 215,694 Australian girls between the ages of 10 and 17 would avoid swimming because they felt bad in a swimming costume.

Dove's survey showed:

  • 71% of Australian teens felt pressured to be beautiful, placing Australia third compared to the global survey conducted by Dove, behind Germany (89%) and Russia (82%).
  • 43% of Australian girls said they had avoided an activity because they felt bad about how they looked.
  • 20% said they had avoided the beach, pool or sauna.
  • 17% of Australian girls admitted they had avoided physical activity or sport because of how they looked.
  • 67% of the Australian girls surveyed said they put the pressure on themselves; the next two sources of body pressure were from their friends (57%) and society (53%).

Christine Morgan, chief executive officer of the Butterfly Foundation, which is an organisation that represents all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image, said: "The main issue with girls who have these feelings at a young age is they are moving into negative body image territory, which is not what you look like but how you feel about the way you look.

"Their self-worth is low; they feel unless they look the right way and that they will not be successful.

"Mothers, sisters and aunts are role models, whether we want to be or not.

"We should celebrate diversity in shape, we should tell our daughters that they are beautiful as they are and our actions should reflect what we are saying.

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