Body confidence campaign
Evidence shows that popular culture places burdens on people’s wellbeing and self esteem, often resulting in low confidence and self-consciousness. This can contribute to lowered aspirations and psychological wellbeing and heightened vulnerability to risky behaviours. Boys and men are affected as well as girls and women, but there is a particularly marked impact on women’s choices and life chances.
We work with organisations across government and industry to address the causes of low levels of body confidence in our society by:
- raising awareness of body image and raising debate
- working with industry (media, retail, advertising, fitness, fashion and beauty) to represent and celebrate a wider range of sizes, shapes and ethnicity in images of men, women and children
- encouraging girls’ aspirations and confidence in their full value and social contribution
- developed an industry award (the PPA Awards) with the Professional Publishers’ Association to reward the inclusion of diverse body images in magazines
- worked with Media Smart to launch a teaching pack for primary schools, and an accompanying parent pack, to help children understand how media images are doctored and the impact this can have on individuals
- hosted roundtables for the media, retail, advertising and fitness industries to encourage voluntary action to promote healthy bodies and realistic goal-setting
Our 2013 body confidence progress report gives more detail on the campaign so far.
Working with other departments
The body confidence campaign team is part of the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and works closely with other departments on related policy areas. We are addressing body confidence across government through the following programmes.
The public health responsibility deal
The public health responsibility deal, set up with the Department of Health, taps into the potential for businesses and other organisations to improve public health and address health inequalities through their influence over food, alcohol, physical activity and health in the workplace.
Healthy lives, healthy people
In October 2011, the Department of Health published ‘Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England’, which sets out how a wide range of partners can work together to make sure that people get the right support and information to help them reach and maintain a healthier weight.
Letting children be children
On 6 June 2011, Reg Bailey published his independent review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children, ‘Letting children be children’, which calls on government, businesses and broadcasters to play their part and protect children from the increasingly sexualised ‘wallpaper’ that surrounds them.
In response to the Bailey review, the UK’s media regulators have launched ParentPort. This website helps people understand the standards expected from the media, make a complaint and share their views with the regulators.
- All Party Parliamentary Group on body image
- Media Smart: media literacy teaching pack on body image
- Bailey review: letting children be children
- TNS Omnibus survey: Bailey review data
- Girlguiding UK: girls attitudes 2011
- YMCA research: attitudes to body image in the UK
- HBSC research: international survey on health behaviours in school-aged children
- Credos: pretty as a picture - airbrushing in advertising
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