Body image pertains to a person’s feelings and beliefs about their body and level of attractiveness. Concerns start at a young age: approx. 40-50% of girls and boys ages 6-12 are unhappy with their appearance; 70-80% of adolescent girls are unhappy with their bodies; and 15-50% of adolescent boys are dissatisfied with their bodies. Approx. 10-13% of young women will develop eating disorders.
The majority of youth will not develop eating disorders but may be characterized by feeling insecure in their body, inhibited in expressing their needs, disconnected to themselves, and engaging in practices that harm their body. All of this subsequently can result in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression. A person’s body image level significantly influences how a person positively or negatively experiences life!
Additionally, it is important to recognize that not everyone holds a negative body image. However, just because someone does not have a negative body image does not mean they have a positive body image. Characteristics that emerge out of a positive body image include participating in self-care behaviours, appreciating and respecting one’s body, minimizing exposure to harmful media, emphasizing one’s personality and internal characteristics as important, and having a flexible standard of attractiveness. 
What makes us different?
Free to Be is one of the only body image programs created for both girls and boys. While many programs aim to decrease negative factors for developing eating disorders, Free to Be uses a strengths-based approach to promote and increase positive body image regardless of the person’s initial level of body image. Our aim is to nurture a positive body image and positive related characteristics that promote growth and vitality in both boys and girls.
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