This new project by our public health committee focuses on body image. It is an interactive workshop that targets children in high school. The workshop is divided into three sections. The first defines concepts of body image and self-esteem and explores familial, social and cultural influencers. The second teaches children about normal growth during puberty and factors that influence height and weight. We also focus on subjects such as acne. The third section follows youth in their quest to accept their body by giving them tips related to exercise and diet and by demystifying fad diets and supplements.
The project has been revised and approved by members of the Montreal and McGill Universities and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics.
The format of the workshop is versatile and polyvalent. It is adaptable to multiple contexts. For example, it is possible to do a short presentation of one or two hours in the goal of kickstarting a discussion about body image in mixed groups. It is also possible to adapt to a longer presentation for groups that are specifically male or female and treat the consequences of excessive diets and exercise. It is also possible to make multiple workshops spread out over a couple of weeks, in the goal of allowing youth to reflect on their life habits.
The approach is interactive and solicits youth to share their opinions and to discuss them, as well as to stimulate critical analysis in the hopes of creating solutions to identified problems. We approach the youth with scientific facts in a way that allows them to think themselves about the information that is provided objectively.
The objective of our presentation is not to bring the adolescent to love their body, but to put into perspective the lens through which they see their body and to allow them to understand the influential factors on said their perception. The workshop also aims to explain what the advantages and limits of different approaches that can lead to a desired body image, all while inserting notions about the biologic functions of the changing body.
Here is a brief review of the subject that are explored in the three section of the workshop that constitute the basics of our preventive
Section 1 : Body Image and Self Esteem
This section begins with a shock-question that asks every participant to rate themselves from a scale from 1 to 10. We continue discussions by defining concepts related to self esteem and body image, all while discussing their influences (individual, familial, social, media-related, cultural, temporal). This is all accompanied by a number of examples related to image editing, discussions on diverging beauty standards, etc. The main objective is to allow the adolescent to determine what they think about themselves and their body and to think about the external factors that can affect their image of themselves.
Section 2 : Body Types and Puberty
This section is a bit more magistral but very applied and concrete, answering many of the questions and issues often brought up by teens related to their bodies and to changes in adolescence. For example, we explain why it is normal for young girls’ thighs to be larger than those of boys. We also explain why boys are often confronted with their puberty being less advanced than that of girls in the beginning of high school. We discuss subjects such as acne and demystify its mechanism by recommending some products. More importantly, we talk about different body types and factors that influence the height and weight of teens (modifiable and non modifiable factors).
Section 3 : And the Body Image that I want?
This final section aims to accompany children in their reflection on methods that they choose to “work on” their body image. We treat subjects such a detox regimens, crash diets and calorific contents of meals. We talk about subjects such a true and false hunger (physiologic vs. related to emotions, social habits and publicity). Importance is also accorded to energy drinks. We also talk about sleep and its impact on growth and self esteem, as well as the benefits of the personal choice of exercise on self esteem and body image. Excessive exercise and the use of different supplements are also spoken about.
For more information, please contact:
Co-coordinator of Proud and Fit (Mauricie)
Co-coordinator of Proud and Fit (Mauricie)