20 Nov 2015

Successful Healthy Bodies programme with city school

healthy bodies newsHealthy Bodies, a programme designed to combat unhealthy body image amongst teenage girls, has been so successful it could now extend across the city.

Developmental psychologist, Dr Beth T. Bell from York St John University has developed the programme to challenge issues with body image and unhealthy lifestyles. The programme aims to increase girls’ knowledge and understanding of body image and self-esteem, physical activity and nutrition, while encouraging girls to engage in psychological activities to boost wellbeing.

A group of pupils from York High School have been awarded qualifications – a CYQ Level 1 Award in Body Image and the Relationship to Wellbeing - after successfully completing the programme. They will now act as body image ambassadors within their school.

Mr Paul Kenny, teacher at York High School, said: “This was a fantastic, targeted intervention for Year 9 girls, which reinforced the positive benefits gained from making healthy and active lifestyle choices.”

Bell said the Good Childhood Report (2015) ranked adolescent girls in England as 14th out of 15 countries, in cross-cultural comparisons of body image concerns and 15th in terms of levels of self-confidence.

She said: “It is important that we tackle negative body image during the teenage years when it first begins to show.

“Negative body image, the experience of negative thoughts about one’s body and particularly negative thoughts about the appearance of one’s body, is so common amongst adolescent girls in the UK today that it is now considered to be the norm.

“Upon completion of the course, adolescent girls have an increased knowledge of body image, nutrition and physical activity, but that they will also experience a more positive body image and engage in more healthy behaviours than they did previously. Girls who participated in the pilot programme at York High reported improved body image and more healthy attitudes towards diet and exercise. Importantly, many of the girls participated more in PE lessons after the programme.”

York High School are planning to continue the collaboration with York St. John University over the academic year and Dr Bell hopes to extend the project to other York schools.

Anyone wanting more information about the programme should contact Dr Bell