Healthier You Northern Health Spring 2016

Page 18

mentalwellness

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL: Body Image Impacts Mental Health

DEVELOPING A POSITIVE BODY IMAGE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF A WOMAN’S MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS.

By Marianne Bloudoff

Population Health Dietitian Northern Health

Sandi DeWolf

Eating Disorders Clinic Northern Health

Marta Torok

Eating Disorders Clinic Northern Health

PHOTO: Kimberly Strain, courtesy of PEDAW

18 Healthier You

SPRING 2016

What is body image? It is the way each of us perceives our physical appearance, and includes our thoughts and feelings about how we look. Our selfesteem, or sense of self-worth, is often closely linked with body image. There are many things that can contribute to a negative body image. The mass media is one that many women can relate to. The media often presents women with an idealized image of female beauty that is impossible for the majority of women to attain. The images we often see are of thin, tall, photoshopped women, who represent only one body type that few real-life women possess. Body image is also influenced by family relationships, cultural beliefs, sports involvement, peers and past traumas. Women with a negative body image are more likely to suffer from depression, social isolation and low self-esteem.