The biggest worry for young Australians is their body image.
An article published by News.com.au by Stephen Lunn reveals the data of a survey conducted in 2007. The results show how concerned young people are about looking good.
Body Image becomes the biggest worry for young people
THE danger of unhealthily obsessing about not having the perfect body is a message that should by now be percolating through the minds of Australia’s young people — but instead the problem is getting worse.
Concern about how their body looks is now the biggest worry for the nation’s 11- to 24-year-olds, male and female, an annual survey of 29,000 young Australians will reveal today.
Body image is a more important issue over alcohol and drugs
Last year, body image was the third most pressing issue, behind family conflict and worries over alcohol and drugs.
But when asked to rank 14 issues of concern for this year’s survey, 32.3 per cent of respondents put body image in their top three, ahead of family conflict and coping with stress. Body image was a top level concern for 28.1per cent last year.
“What we’ve found is that young people are still taking on the very, very strong message of the body beautiful, the ultra-fit bodies, in the images they see in the media they consume,” said Anne Hampshire from Mission Australia, which conducts the annual study, the National Survey of Young Australians.
“As a consequence, young girls in particular are dieting at very early ages when there is absolutely no need to be doing so.
“We need to be helping our young people understand what is a healthy body image, but this is one of those messy policy areas that cuts across health, families and community and education. It needs urgent attention, but no one is taking responsibility.”
Sydney student Serena Fayed, 21, said body issues “always come up in conversations with my friends”.
“Friends of mine do have eating disorders, usually because of what they see in the media. They want to look a certain way and dress a certain way. That’s fine for them but I don’t want it,” Ms Fayed said.
The Celebrity Factor is contributing with these issues
“Celebrities is where it starts, but then it comes back to comparing themselves to people that they know.”
One bright spot from the survey was the positive attitude young people have to their families. When asked what they value most, family ranked well above financial security.
Family is important
“Overall, the results show young Australians place an enormous importance on family and friends, which is very encouraging,” Ms Hampshire said.
“No matter how we cut the data, their responses are at odds with how young people are portrayed, as egocentric and problematic. We should be pleased with their values.”
Ms Fayed agreed that family and friends were high up on her list. “They know you best. They are your support and the resources around you.
” I know I have their support in any situation,” she said.
Concern about suicide is also falling, with 23.9 per cent of respondents rating it one of their top three concerns, compared with 28 per cent last year.