Student leaders

Principles for teaching about body image

Principles for teaching about body image

Below is a summary of principles for education programs supporting positive body image (Source: SeeMe Media Literacy Project Research and Scoping Study Report, Education Services Australia, 2011).

Essential elements for teaching about body image

  • Body image activities that meet the needs of males and females, and a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Activities that promote students’ self-identity and self-esteem.
  • Media literacy education that assists students in becoming more critical consumers of the media.
  • Evidence-based programs that develop positive body image.
  • Body image-friendly language that is used between teachers and students, and between students.

Approaches NOT recommended for teaching about body image

  • Using guest speakers, books, videos of those who have suffered/recovered from eating disorders.
  • Using pictures of ‘ideal’ bodies without proper media literacy education as an introduction.
  • Exploring body types using ‘ectomorph’, ‘endomorph’ and ‘mesomorph’.
  • Asking students to record food intake.
  • Weighing students.