Factors that promote a positive body image


A recent study has revealed five factors that help women improve their body image especially in the context of a society where discontent with appearance is common among women.

Many women in contemporary Western cultures suffer from body dissatisfaction. This is a common risk factor for eating disorders. Dr. Shannon Snapp, University of Arizona, and her team examined what it is that makes some women comfortable with their less than perfect bodies. They focused on young college women who are particularly brutal about their physical image and also very at risk for bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

They found that young women with high family support and low levels of perceived pressure from family, friends and the media about being thin and therefore beautiful had a more positive body image. They also rejected the idea of a superwoman ideal, they had a positive physical self-concept, and had developed skills to deal with the stress in their lives.

The team recommended that prevention programs should include helping young women to evaluate and become comfortable with the multiple and often contradictory expectations placed on them in today’s society; teach these women to use effective coping skills to handle stress, anxiety, and self-criticism; help them foster a positive view of their physical competence through exercise and health programs; and promote holistic comprehensive well-being and balance in their lives so that they have a realistic view of their health, image and ability to contribute to their community.

“It is particularly important for women to develop a sense of self-worth that is not solely based on appearance, and to build resilience to pressures they may receive from family, friends and the media,” the report concluded.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Sex Roles


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