Is your body image positive or negative? If your answer is negative, you are not alone. Many women in the United States feel pressured to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. Women are constantly bombarded with "Barbie Doll-like" images. By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It's no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. The message we're hearing is either "all women need to lose weight" or that the natural aging process is a "disastrous" fate.

Other pressures can come from the people in our lives.

  • Family and friends can influence your body image with positive and negative comments.
  • A doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body.

Learning to love what you see in the mirror:

We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Changing your body image means changing the way you think about your body. At the same time, healthy lifestyle choices are also key to improving body image.

  • Healthy eating can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones.
  • Regular exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image, and energy levels.
  • Plenty of rest is key to stress management.

Reference: US Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated May 2017

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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