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Third of teens isolate themselves because of their body, says YMCA

Tue 17 Jan 2017
By Premier Journalist

Research conducted by the YMCA and Dove has found 30 per cent of secondary school pupils avoid taking part in activities because of anxiety about their bodies.

The survey, conducted among 2,000 teens aged 11 to 16 years old, also found 52 per cent regularly worry about how they look.

In a response to the findings, the YMCA's Be Real Campaign has launched a Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit to help teachers educate young people about body image.

The report highlighted the need for youth workers, schools and parents to come together to tackle body image.

Head of the Be Real campaign Liam Preston told Premier there was a need for youth workers, schools and parents to come together to tackle body dysmorphia and low self-esteem.

"We're not saying this toolkit alone will solve it. The survey showed that parents were the ones young people were most likely to seek support from and friends afterwards. We need to have these conversations at home and in a youth work setting as well," said Preston.

Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of the National Council of YMCAs in England and Wales, said the research showed just how dangerous low body confidence can be.

"We've found evidence of young people not only isolating themselves from activities, potentially causing long-term physical or mental health difficulties," she said, "but also considering cosmetic surgery and extreme diets to improve how they believe they should look as a result of the body image 'ideals' they see in media and advertising."

Schools can download a copy of the toolkit from the Be Real Campaign website.

Listen to Premier's Marcus Jones speaking to Liam Preston:

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