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1 in 5 Scots youngsters ashamed of their body 1in7; SHOCKING MENTAL HEALTH WEEK POLL.

Byline: VIVIENNE AITKEN Health Editor

ONE in five young people feels ashamed of the way they look, a startling survey has found.

A charity polled Scots youths aged 10 to 19 to examine the impact of body image issues on mental health - the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.

The poll by Mental Health Foundation Scotland also found one in seven young people had stopped eating or restricted their diet to try to feel better about their body image.

And one in 10 said concerns about the way they look had stopped them from going to school or college - while more than a quarter said it had stopped them from taking part in sports.

The shock findings come after figures revealed that one in seven Scots adults had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of their body image.

In response to the new poll, the Scottish Government has announced an expert group, which will develop a charter on healthy body image for young people and develop ways to offer better support, including in schools.

Mental health minister Clare Haughey will announce the advisory group's full remit when she visits Girl Guides today.

Julie Cameron, of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: "It's incredibly concerning that so many young people across Scotland have told us they feel ashamed of their body image and the way they look.

"Worries about body image can lead to mental health problems and in some instances are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

"It is also clear from the survey that teenagers are identifying images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about change their appearance their body image."

Just less than a third of young people reported images they'd seen on social media had made them worry about the way they look, with one in seven saying they had edited photos of themselves to change their appearance.

A report by the charity calls for immediate action to safeguard the health of teenagers as they grow up.

Cameron said: "Action starts in our families and homes with how we talk about our bodies and eating - but we also need more regulation of advertising that promotes idealised and unattainable body images.

"Social media companies should urgently up their game in taking practical steps to ensure that the content they promote does not exacerbate body-image concerns.

"We're delighted that the Scottish Government has responded promptly to our report. We hope that the new expert group will lead to the creation of useful resources for teachers and other frontline professionals and help to raise awareness about the impact of body image on our mental health."



WORRYING Body image issues can contribute to eating disorders. Picture: Getty/ iStockphoto

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 14, 2019
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