Stories about: Self esteem & body image

Eating disorders affect boys, gay and lesbian youth

“When asked to conjure an image of a patient living with an eating disorder, I imagine many people picture a young, thin woman. This reflects two common stereotypes: that eating disorders only affect women, and that all people with eating disorders are low-weighted. In fact, clinical experience and an evolving field of research show that many males struggle with eating disorders,” says Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, fellow in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Similarly, parents and health care providers may see gay, lesbian and bisexual youth in terms of their sexual identities and forget that these teens may face body image and weight control issues as well.

Two recent studies published by researchers at Boston Children’s debunk these stereotypes and may change the way parents and providers think about eating disorders and risky weight control behaviors in all teens.

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Viral video exposes extreme airbrushing that could impact body image

The “BodyEvolution” video, posted in 2011 and 2012, has gone viral, again. The video captures the extent and ease of airbrushing in popular media and may reminds parents of its detrimental effects on kids.

Teens are bombarded with images of perfectly sculpted models, and it’s not uncommon for them to crave a similar look and physique. “[It’s] completely unattainable, because the photos have been extensively altered,” says Alison Field, ScD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Adolescent Medicine.

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Bullying: what parents need to know and do

It’s easy to think of bullying as a normal part of childhood—and no big deal. After all, it’s been going on since time immemorial. The popular kids have always picked on the less popular kids. We’ve seen it at school, watched in on TV and in the movies, maybe even lived it ourselves.

So it’s easy to brush it off, to say “kids will be kids,” to tell our bullied kid to toughen up—and maybe even to be proud of our kids who bully because they are so dominant and popular.

But bullying is a big deal, not something to be brushed off. New technology has brought cyberbullying, which can be really dangerous in its anonymity and pervasiveness. Bullying does real harm.

Parents can play a crucial role—both in helping and making things worse.

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Sexy ads sell–to little girls?

Have you heard about Thylane Blondeau, the 10-year-old model who caused such a stir this summer with her pictures in French Vogue?

In the pictures, she is made up to the hilt, in provocative poses, vamping for the camera. It caused outrage in the media and blogosphere, with people saying that it is wrong for a child to be so sexualized.

I showed the video to my 10-year-old daughter to get her reaction. “That’s horrible,” she said. When I asked her why, she said it was because Thylane was dressed like a grown-up.  The clothing and the makeup she was wearing in the pictures were not okay, according to Natasha. “She’s only ten!” she said.

(Click here to see an ABC News clip on the shoot.)

Well, okay then. This is so wrong that even a 10-year-old sees it immediately.

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