The burning issue of body image in Ireland

11 Dec

By Jane Haynes

In an age where opinions on body image and appearance are flounced freely, unchecked, across social media platforms, and the media approaches the subject in an increasingly brash manner, it is imperative to consider the effects that society’s attitudes to body image are having on the most vulnerable in our society – its youth.

This is exactly what Dáil na nÓg, Ireland’s Youth Parliament, sought to determine when it carried out its ‘How We See It: Survey on Young People’s Body Image’. The study, which surveyed 2,156 people between the ages of 10 and 21, sought to determine how young people in Ireland view their body image.

While the chief finding and significance of the report lay in its identification of body image as a major “growing concern” among Ireland’s youth, the study itself represents a milestone in Irish research. Although Dáil na nÓg identified body image as the number one concern in relation to youth mental health in 2010, this study represents the very first time that publicly reported data on the topic of body image has been produced.

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