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Friday, April 10, 2009

Chapter 1: Poor Body Image

"The reason we can't look at ourselves and appreciate objective realities isn't because our mirror is distorted. Our body image has little to do with how we look on the outside and everything to do with what we think and feel on the inside." (Newman p.15)
Body image issues are not simply a result of what we see in the mirror. Instead, it's a matter of what's going on in our minds. What are the influencing factors in your mind that lead to poor body image?

Check out some statistics about body image...
  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins)
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al)
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak)
  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets (Gustafson-Larson & Terry)
  • 91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth et al)
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders (Shisslak & Crago).
  • 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak)
  • Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year (Smolak)

Is our culture to blame for poor body image issues?
Would you struggle with your body image if you didn't see thin models on TV? Would you struggle if you didn't hear dieting commercials on the radio? Would you struggle if you didn't see exercise tips in magazines?

If you were the only one on this planet would you have a poor body image? Have you ever thought of the influence that other people, magazines, TV, and the radio have on your body image? How can you eliminate these influences on your mind?