Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England and Wales, a founding partner of the Be Real Campaign for body confidence, said:
“With more than half of young people (55%) being bullied about their appearance and 80% of this taking place in school or college, YMCA’s Be Real Campaign is working at source to try and tackle body image anxiety among young people.
The Be Real Campaign’s mission is to change attitudes to appearance and help all of us put health above the way we look.
In order to promote body confidence later in life, it is essential that it begins from an early age. We know from our own research that more than half (52%) of 11 to 16 year olds regularly worry about how they look and almost a third (30%) are isolating themselves because of body image anxiety.
The relationship many young people have with their appearance is a negative one. It is a relationship that is powered by constant comparisons with others, self-doubt, and in some cases, crippling insecurities.
Secondary schools are a key setting for young people to discuss and challenge body confidence issues, with both teachers and students playing an important role in how this happens. We know that when young people learn about body confidence in school, they feel more positive about themselves.
Working with school leaders and a team of experts, YMCA’s Be Real Campaign created the Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools to help develop body confidence in all students so they can thrive both in and out of the classroom.
Available to download for free, the toolkit provides all the resources a school could need to educate their pupils on body image. With more and more pressure on teachers to deliver work outside of the curriculum we wanted to make the toolkit as easy to use as possible and contain everything a school could need. Contained within the pack are model letters to parents and carers, lesson guidance, assembly presentations, campaign posters, tips for teachers and more.”