Let’s consider poor body image across the globe and take a closer look at how it may be negatively impacting you or a loved one.
What Is Body Image?
Simply put, body image is a mental picture of your physical appearance that you hold in your mind. This mental picture is shaped by your own observation and also by feedback from your environment and influences around you over time. It’s worth noting that this picture you hold about your appearance in terms of your body shape, size, or attractiveness may or may not line up with how you actually look.
People with negative body image tend to feel that their bodies are not meeting a kind of standard they’ve established for themselves. They feel self-conscious and preoccupied with this idea of “not measuring up.” Typically, with poor body image, there’s also a deep concern with what other people see and how they judge you for your body and appearance. How we feel about and experience our bodies is incredibly important to our sense of well-being. It can impact us in many ways, including relationship satisfaction, school and work performance, and overall quality of life.
The Impact of Poor Body Image Across the Globe
Statistics out there in relation to body dissatisfaction are pretty alarming, telling us that low body confidence is a global issue. A study sponsored by Dove surveyed 10,500 females across 13 countries. The study found that women’s body confidence is declining steadily. Among females ages 15-64 from the United States to Saudi Arabia, only 4 percent consider themselves beautiful. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of adult women report withdrawing from activities because of low body esteem. Statistics among other populations, including men and transgender individuals, are similarly alarming.
Poor body image is associated with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, along with increased risk of suicidal thoughts. Individuals with poor body image report a significant impact on social life, including social isolation, avoidance of physical intimacy, or withdrawal from activities. Not surprisingly, poor body image can lead to extreme dieting or exercise, which can easily snowball into binge eating, purging, and other harmful disordered eating behaviors.
What To Do About Poor Body Image
If you’re tuning in here, chances are, you or someone you care about is experiencing negative body image. It’s important to note that body image can improve with treatment. Join us for this ongoing blog series that includes practical exercises to reduce the impact that poor body image may be having on your life. While this series is not a replacement for treatment, it may be a window into what treatment might offer you.
Check out the previous posts in our body image series:
Stay tuned for more content from Columbus Park with additional strategies for conquering food and weight concerns.