Release type: Media Release

Date:

Minister receives report to tackle negative body image

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth

Minister for Youth Kate Ellis today received an important report to help the Australian Government address the growing problem of negative body image amongst young people.

TheProposed National Strategy on Body Imagewas developed by the National Advisory Group on Body Image, which was appointed by Ms Ellis in March this year.

The group is chaired by formerCosmopolitanEditor Mia Freedman and the eleven members include model and television producer Sarah Murdoch,GirlfriendEditor Sarah Cornish, youth representative Amanda Scott and Butterfly Foundation Founder Claire Vickery.

“Negative body image is a serious problem that affects the lives of many young people – both men and women,” Ms Ellis said.

“Self-esteem, confidence and resilience are so important to growing up happy and healthy and we want to give that precious gift to all young people.

“Young people rated body image as their top concern in Mission Australia’sNational Survey of Young Australiansin 2007 and at third in 2008. It can’t be ignored.

“This report will guide us on how we can work in partnership with industry, parents, the community and young people to stem this unhealthy epidemic,” Ms Ellis said.

The report encourages advertisers, the media and the fashion industry to promote more positive body image messages.

The report includes aVoluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Imagewhich recommends using healthy weight models, realistic and natural images of people and disclosure when images of people have been digitally manipulated.

The report also recommends building resilience in young people through a focus on peer interactions, parenting, and the role of schools and community groups.

“I thank the members of the Advisory Group for their dedication to producing this valuable work. I’ll consider the recommendations and their implementation.”

As part of the report’s release, a workshop involving ACT high school students was held at Parliament House today.

The workshop encouraged students to think about how body image can be tackled in schools and in the online environment, particularly through social networking sites. For further information and a copy of the report visit the Proposed National Strategy on Body Image page on youth.gov.au.