Teenagers, parents and body image

Keeping communication lines open about body image is crucial for happiness and wellbeing.

New research has shown that over half of Australian teens are concerned about their weight, yet not everyone feels comfortable speaking up about it.

Conducted by the Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line in light of Body Image & Eating Disorders Week (3 – 9 Sept), the research showed one in ten teenagers would opt to stay silent on their weight concerns. Parents were also involved in the research, with findings contradicting three-quarters of participants’ belief that their teenagers would talk to them about weight concerns. In reality, once a teen hits 18, they are significantly less likely to do so.

We took to the streets of Melbourne’s CBD to chat to parents and teenagers about body image, how comfortable they felt discussing it and if they saw celebrities as body image role models. What appears consistently throughout the responses is that body image is something you become much more conscious of throughout your teen years.

Christine Morgan, Butterfly Foundation CEO and organiser of the Body Image & Eating Disorders Awareness Week, says, “It’s alarming to see that body image worsens in teens as they near adulthood, and that they are less inclined to seek help. This is a concern as 18 and 19 year olds are often in a period of great transition but clearly need their community’s support more than ever.”

Parents and teens should feel comfortable seeking advice on weight and body images from medical professionals. Medibank offers a 24/7 Health Advice Line for all members with hospital cover.

Medibank members with Medibank hospital cover can call a Medibank nurse 24/7 on 1800 644 325

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