Teachers Can Improve Teenage Girls’ Self-Esteem Through School Body Image Lessons: New research released by psychologists at King’s College London suggests that, in a study of 261 teenage girls across three secondary schools, providing the pupils with six lessons on body image resulted in a significant impact on their perception of their own body.
According to figures, up to a third of teenagers have a poor body image – they are dissatisfied with their own body. This can in turn lead to depression, eating disorders, obesity and other health related issues; including over use of cosmetic surgery.
The course on body image, which was delivered by teachers in three separate state-funded girls’ schools, was designed to test the effectiveness of delivering these kind of lessons in respect to reducing negative body image. Dr Helen Sharpe, of the Institute of Psychiatry, felt that following the results the course was successful. She continued:
“We’re hopeful that as we continue with this research we’ll be able to make the programme even more effective and that it could then go on to be effective in reducing disordered eating – things like binge eating and unhelpful weight loss.”
The researchers also noted that if these type of programs could be delivered by teachers across UK schools, the effect would be wide-ranging and relatively minimal in terms of cost.
The findings come a year after MPs recommended that all pupils should receive body image lessons, and also courses which focussed on building self-esteem. Indeed, the government panel which listened to the evidence in favour, an all-parliamentary group, was informed that figures suggest that more than half of the general public felt negatively about their body image.
Further studies have suggested that girls as young as five years of age have developed concerns over the way they looked; cosmetic surgery rates have also risen by almost a fifth since 2008.
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