Release type: Media Release

Date:

Ellis kicks off online body image consultations on International No Diet Day

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Youth

Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis MP, today launched an online body image survey to support the Australian Government’s efforts in tackling negative body image and to also mark International No Diet Day (Wednesday).

“This survey will help inform the development of the Government’s National Strategy on Body Image being overseen by the National Advisory Group on Body Image

“The online survey will provide all Australians with the opportunity to contribute their views, ideas and suggestions for inclusion in the National Strategy on Body Image.

“Body Image is a complex issue and the most affective approach to work in partnership with the media, health sector, fashion industry and young people themselves to develop a national approach to tackle negative body image in a coordinated and targeted way.

“That is why I am launching this national consultation survey today; I want to hear the views of industry, health professionals and the community about what could and should be done to tackle negative body image.

“The survey will complement the work of the National Advisory Group on Body Image, which is already providing advice to the Government on the National Strategy and Code of Conduct.

Chair of the National Advisory Group on Body Image, Mia Freedman, said: “Everyone on the Advisory Group knows this is a big job - but if we throw up our hands and say ‘too hard' and 'too long' then nothing will change, and we have to start somewhere.

“This consultation process is where we are starting, and by giving people the chance to have their say we can consider as many ideas and programs as possible.”

Mission Australia’s National Survey of Young Australians in 2008 found that body image was one of the top three concerns for young Australians aged between 11 and 24.

There is also evidence that body dissatisfaction is approaching epidemic proportions among young Australians, with seven out of ten high school girls consistently choosing an ideal figure that is thinner than their own, and only 16 per cent of young women saying they are happy with their body weight.

Last year the Government allocated $125,000 to establish the Code of Conduct, which will include consideration of the following issues:

  • Clearer notification of altered or enhanced images, including digital alterations.
  • Better representation of diverse body shapes and sizes.
  • Appropriate industry age limits

“I am heartened by growing community support for action to address negative body image, and the work of some in fashion and media who are already taking their own action,” Ms Ellis said.

“This is not an easy issue but the Government is committed to working with the industries to find practical, workable solutions.

“Body image affects the lives of young Australians in very powerful ways and the Government is determined to make a difference over the long term.”

For further information, and to contribute to the consultation process, please visit: www.youth.gov.au.