Achieving a positive and healthy body image

By on November 10, 2004

When you look into the mirror what do you see?

Teenagers today are coming of age in a fat-phobic society and it is affecting their body image consciousness.

According to, as the drive to be thin has resulted in the greatest weight loss efforts ever known to humankind; America has become the “fattest nation” on earth.

Roughly 70 percent of adolescent girls eat in restrictive ways to lose weight.

Courtney Chabina, sophomore diagnostic imaging major, said, “I think most teen girls are very self conscious. The standards are very high for beauty and fitness.”

Society sets the standard for what is attractive. Television and magazines depict the image.

As a result teenage girls are losing sense of who they are. It seems it is no longer what is on the inside that counts, because everyone sees what is only on the outside.

Reality television has moved in the direction of total body makeovers. Magazines depict stick thin models in the arms of muscular men. The media creates a fantasy world. Teenagers become obsessed with the fantasy and lose sight of reality.

Websites such as and are dedicated to the positive development of healthy body image. They promote awareness about the media’s influence on beauty and fitness, provide suggestions to increase self confidence and eliminate destructive dieting.

According to, one of these ideas is to define “healthy weight” not from a genetic height/weight chart or even arbitrary body mass index cut-offs, but rather as the weight your body is when you are living a reasonable life.

“If you’re happy and healthy that’s what counts, not the number on the scale,” Chabina said.

If you have ever gone to the gym at night you may have noticed the weight room packed with men who are lifting. Men also have a standard to live up to, yet they might not vocalize it as much as females do.

Men’s fitness and health magazines depicted rippling muscles and bulky bodies.

For men, sculpting their bodies at the gym is a confidence booster. The common perception is that attractive, healthy, muscular men get the skinny, healthy, beautiful ladies and vice versa.

Brian Ference, sophomore biology major, said, “Going to the gym makes me feel and look healthier, and get girls.”

Barry Zucker, sophomore media productions major, said, “When I look in the mirror I see an average looking guy with a healthy looking body.

Jaclyn Rey, sophomore public relations major, said, “When I look in the mirror I see someone who is strong. You got to look in the mirror and see yourself as something and work for it.”


About Tanya Lagatella