With the exception of infancy, we grow faster during adolescence than any other time in our lives.
Approximately 20% of our adult height and 50% of our adult weight is gained between 11 – 19 years of age.
It is normal to gain between 40 and 50 pounds between the ages of 10 and 16.
For girls, weight is often gained in the breasts and hips, mainly in “estrogenic” or “female” fat. This is healthy and necessary for menstruation and pregnancy.
During the teenage years, girls will experience a widening in their hips. This is normal and necessary for childbirth.
Women have up to twice the amount of body fat as men do.
Genetics play a huge role in determining the size and shape of our bodies. You cannot change your genetics.
Facts About Advertising
The dieting industry generates 50 billion dollars a year with products we buy because we are dissatisfied with our bodies.
The average person in America sees over 3,000 advertising images in one day.
The average person spends approximately 3 years of time during his/her lifetime watching television commercials.
Television commercials/advertisements cost, on average between $250,000 and $500,000 each.
Approximately 180 billion dollars is spent each year, on advertising.
Advertisers use professional models to sell their products.
Computers have digitally altered the professional models that you see in magazines. What you see is not reality, but an image that was created to make you spend money on something!
Many models have had plastic surgery to improve their appearance.
Many models have eating disorders, smoke and use drugs to try to prevent them from eating normally.
Check Out Our Obsession With Looks
Women looking for pouty lips are now pumping their lips full of Gore-Tex, the same substance that makes your winter coat waterproof.
If store mannequins were real, they would be too thin to menstruate.
The average lipstick wearer will swallow 10 pounds of lipstick over 40 years.
Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year.
American women spend $130 million a year on cellulite creams, which are as effective as smearing your body with glue to temporarily tighten your skin.
In 2002 about 54,000 teens had chemical peels and just under 53,000 underwent microdermabrasion. More than 19,000 teens had nose jobs.
400-600 advertisements bombard us everyday in magazines, on billboards, on TV, and in newspapers. One in eleven has a direct message about beauty, not even counting the indirect messages.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), over 220,000 people under 18 years old had a cosmetic procedure in 2002.
Average cost of a one-year gym membership: $450.
Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American people, yet they are the people that we are made to believe we should look like.
5 – 10 million women and 1 million men struggle with eating disorders, in part because of our culture’s obsession with thinness, obtaining the perfect body and valuing people on the basis of physical appearance rather than inner qualities and strengths.
What You Can Do To Help Prevent Eating Disorders
Learn all you can about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Share your knowledge with loved ones. Genuine awareness will help them avoid judgmental or mistaken attitudes about food, weight, body shape, and eating disorders.
Discourage the idea that a particular diet, weight, or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment.
Choose to challenge the false belief that thinness and weight loss are great, while body fat and weight gain are horrible or indicate laziness, worthlessness, or immorality.
Avoid categorizing foods as “good/safe” vs. “bad/dangerous.” Remember, we all need to eat a balanced variety of foods.
Decide to avoid judging others and yourself on the basis of body weight or shape. Turn off the voices in your head that tell you that a person’s body weight says anything about their character, personality, or value as a person.
Avoid conveying an attitude to yourself and others that says, “I will like you better if you lose weight, or don’t eat so much, etc.”
Become a critical viewer of the media and its messages about self-esteem and body image. Talk back to the television when you hear a comment or see an image that promotes thinness at all costs. Don’t watch shows that you know promote these views. Rip out (or better yet, email the editor about ) advertisements or articles in your magazines that make you feel bad about your body shape or size. Better yet, don’t buy these magazines
If you think someone has an eating disorder, express your concerns in a forthright, caring manner. Gently but firmly encourage the person to seek trained professional help. If you suffer from an eating disorder, speak up and get the help you need.
Be a model of healthy self-esteem and body image. Recognize that others pay attention and learn from the way you talk about yourself and your body. Choose to talk about yourself with respect and appreciation. Choose to value yourself based on your goals, accomplishments, talents, and character.
Avoid letting the way you feel about your body weight and shape determine the course of your day. Embrace the natural diversity of human bodies and celebrate your body’s unique shape and size.
Support local and national nonprofit eating disorders organizations — like the National Eating Disorders Association or the Binge Eating Disorder Association.
Reprinted in part from Teaching Body Confidence, by Rebecca Manley, M.S.
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