Teen body confidence pack unveiled

An educational pack aimed at teaching children about body confidence has been launched. Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone unveiled the project - developed by not-for-profit firm Media Smart - as part of the government's ongoing Body Confidence campaign.

The focus of the downloadable pack is to enable primary school teachers to structure lessons on the matter for youngsters aged ten and 11, helping pupils to get a more realistic impression of what photographs are real and which ones are false.

Part of the classes will be devoted to teaching how and why certain images are used in advertising and the media to help get particular messages across.

Ms Featherstone - who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green - said young people are being shown an unachievable standard by the "images they are confronted with on a daily basis from the media and advertising and there is evidence to suggest this has a negative impact on self esteem".

Professor Sarah Grogan, a Chartered Psychologist from Staffordshire University, commented: "These kinds of psycho-educational interventions which train participants to challenge the validity of media representations of idealised bodies have been shown to be effective in reducing weight concerns and body anxiety in adolescent girls. 

"Their usefulness with adolescent boys has not been determined as yet. However, we know that adolescent boys report comparing their bodies to those of media models and that these unfavourable social comparisons predict body dissatisfaction in boys, which suggests that these kinds of interventions may be useful for adolescent boys as well as girls."