Release type: Media Release


New Advisory Group to tackle negative body image

The Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, announced the membership of the new National Advisory Group on Body Image at their first meeting in Sydney today.

Advisory Group will be chaired by former magazine editor Mia Freedman and members include model and media identity Sarah Murdoch,Girlfriendmagazine editor Sarah Cornish, founder of the Butterfly Foundation, Claire Vickery and body image researcher Susan Paxton.

“Young Australians are telling us loud and clear that they are concerned about negative body image and the impact that it has on them, their friends and the community,” said Ms Ellis.

“This is a very complex issue and the Government believes the most affective approach is 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’s why we are glad to have the experts on the Advisory Group, who come from a range of industries and bring their own perspectives.

“This is not an easy issue but we are committed to working with the industries to find practical, workable solutions” said Ms Ellis.

“The Advisory Group will help to develop a new Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image, and provide advice to the Government on a national response.”

Mission Australia’s National Survey of Young Australians in 2008 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 attack on skinny models, it is a genuine attempt to tackle an issue that is harming our young Australians” said Ms Ellis.

“The Government is committed to tackling negative body image from a national perspective, by helping young Australians to build confidence and resilience against the body image pressures that they face.”

“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.”

A list of all members of the advisory group is attached to this release.

Membership of the National Body Image Advisory Group

Ms Mia Freedman (Chair) Journalist and former Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine
Ms Sarah Cornish

EditorGirlfriend and TV Hits magazines

Prof David Forbes School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia
Ms Helen Gazal Fashion industry businesswoman
Ms Kerry Graham

CEOInspire Foundation

Ms Raina Hunter YWCA
Mrs Sarah Murdoch Model/media personality
Prof Susan Paxton

Head of School of Psychological ScienceLa Trobe University

Ms Amanda Scott Youth representative, currently the Chair of the NSW Youth Advisory Council.
Ms Belinda Seper CEOBelinda international Pty Ltd
Ms Claire Vickery CEOButterfly Foundation
Mr Christopher Warren Federal SecretaryThe Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)