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Body image matters

This report opens with the observation that "for too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress".

It backs this up with statistics: for example that during the last year, one in five adults felt shame, just over one third felt down or low, and 19% felt disgusted because of their body image.  

This matters because higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders. 

Body image concerns have been found to be more prevalent among people who are overweight or obese.  But there are further issues relevant to body image and mental health that are specific to certain factors and experiences.  These include pregnancy, the effects of long term health conditions, menopause, and ageing.  Cultural differences around body ideals, and gender and sexuality also play a part.

The report is clear that developing healthy attitudes towards body image is not simply a matter for each of us individually.  It considers how attitudes are shaped by advertising and social media, and how better industry regulation, combined with stronger public health initiatives, can make life better for everyone.

You can download the report via our website.
Body image evidence on tap

Concerns with body image can manifest themselves through eating disorders, gender identity issues, self harm and more.  The following reports have explored some of these issues, from a patient or community perspective:

This study looked at the views and experiences of young people aged 8 to 18 on body image and eating disorders.

A Healthwatch Northamptonshire report explored eating disorders and body image, with a focus on LGBTQ young people.

This report considered NHS Gender Identity Services, from the point of view of service users and people seeking help.

For more evidence on people's experiences of body image and related issues, search for terms such as "body image", "eating disorder", "obesity" etc. here:  
This just in…
Free resources

Not a subscriber to the Patient Experience Library?  Don't worry - you can still get lots of free stuff from our website!  

Our quarterly Patient Experience magazine carries insightful comment from a range of contributors, as well as our top picks of recent reports on patient experience and patient/public involvement. 

Patient Experience in England is our annual overview of the evidence base, drawing on surveys and research from government bodies, health charities and academic institutions.  The evidence is broken down into manageable chunks, and research findings are grouped under key themes for ease of understanding. 

You can browse our Knowledge Maps to see how patient experience is being reported in your area.  

And if you want to wear your patient experience heart on your sleeve, you can download and print our posters and stick them on your wall.  Better still, post them to the Chief Executive of your local NHS Trust!
Do you know of a stand-out report on patient experience that people in CCG's, PALS teams and local Healthwatch should be reading?  If you do, and you'd like to see it featured in this newsletter, let us know! 
The Patient Experience Library offers unparalleled access to patient insight and experience with over 50,000 documents, including...
  • Patient experience reports from health and care charities and think tanks
  • Guidance on matters such as patient-centred commissioning
  • CQC inspection reports and patient survey results
  • All the reports from the local Healthwatch network
  • Quality Accounts from health service providers
  • Valuable archive materials from bodies such as LINk and the NHS Institute
For details of free services, pay as you go services and subscriptions, click here.
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