Teen Mental Health and Body Image Issues

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The need to support teen mental health is on the rise, especially when it comes to body image issues. Listen in for some great tips!

The behavior we model as adults, carries on to our children. The problem with body image, is that many of us adults struggle as well. So where does that leave our kids?

Today I am talking to Julie Pullman from Rise Wellness Coaching, a wellness coaching program that focuses on teens.

As a trained professional with a degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology, and a decade in the fitness industry as well as mom of two teens, Julie offers an experienced and compassionate perspective in her coaching practice.

She had her own journey to overcome health issues and find wellness. She now coaches because that journey showed her what her true potential is and how good you can feel once you achieve it.

You can find her on her website, Rise Wellness Coaching and on her Instagram account.

Gender Differences in Body Image

Body image issues affect everyone. Adults, teens and even young children. It affects all genders and sexual orientations. It knows no bounds. It especially is prevalent in young women.

While most of the focus is on females, males struggle too. Maybe it’s because males don’t tend to talk about their emotions as openly, so it’s not as common that they admit it, but it affects them.

Statistics from a variety of resources say that somewhere between 15 and 25% of eating disorders are in males. So while it isn’t as high as females, it still exists.

Because the movement for support isn’t focused on males, their feelings are often brushed under the rug.

Age and Body Image Issues

Some research shows that 40-60% of girls between age 6 and 12 are worried about their weight. That’s girls as young as first grade!

So if this is a concern starting at 6, why don’t we address this? Schools don’t have education and support for issues related to body image in elementary, it seems it’s assumed that this is dealt with at home.

But if adults also struggle with this issue, how do we support our kids?

It seems like we should start this education young, build them up before they fall. If we can give them the skills to be confident with themselves, this will transfer to so many other areas of life including school suuccess.

The exposure to social media, diet culture, moms that constantly jump from one diet to another, peers and learned behavior all set the stage for young adults with a spectrum of issues from extreme eating disorders to an unhealthy body image.

Eating Disorders in Teens

Eating disorders in teens is on the rise and very prevalent. Teen mental health is suffering and the statistics are alarming:

By 17 years old, 89% of girls have dieted.15% of young women have disordered eating42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to lose weight45% of boys and girls in grades 3-6 want to be thinner51% of 9 and 10 year old girls say they feel better about themselves when they are dieting81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat9% of nine year olds have vomited to lose weight

All of this can be helped with prevention. By teaching and addressing these issues with kids before the media gets to them will give them a solid background of knowledge.

The issue is that once young children get exposed to the online world, that becomes their source of information. The not only see photos of what they think they need to look like, they are also exposed to the wide range of diets being sold.

Diet culture is a huge precursor to body image issues. Young kids tend to believe what they see online.

Warning signs

If you are concerned about your young adult, teen or child and want to catch the issue before it spirals out of control, there are some red flags you can watch out for:

They are going from diet to diet.You notice they are restricting calories or whole categories of food.They are seeking constant attention based on looks.