Healthy Body Image for Children and Young People Advisory Group minutes: August 2019

Minutes from the first meeting of the advisory group on 23 August 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Julie Cameron (Co-Chair) 
  • Katie Reid (Co-Chair) 
  • Rachel Thomson 
  • Fariha Thomas 
  • Helen Forrest 
  • Nicoletta Primo (on behalf of Carolyn Fox McKay)                                          
  • Leanne Ferries 
  • Petya Eckler 
  • Fiona Duffy 
  • Helen Sharpe 
  • secretariat and policy officials from the Scottish Government were also present


  • Frances Duffy
  • Carolyn Fox McKay
  • Simita Kumar

Items and actions

13:00 - introductions 

The chairs welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the advisory group.

Members then introduced themselves, their organisation and how the work of their organisations aligns with the remit of the advisory group. Discussion surrounded what each of the members organisations would bring to the group by representing different perspectives such as BME, health and research.

There was discussion around campaigns and projects that member’s organisations had already delivered in relation to body image, such as the “Free Being Me” campaign by Girlguiding Scotland and Dove.

It was agreed by the co-chairs that they would alternate who was chairing at each meeting. It was agreed that Katie would chair the next meeting. 

Action: Secretariat to share contact details of all members.

13:15 – aims 

Discussion surrounded the final aim of the advisory group. Members were reminded of the short life of the group and this created discussion around what was possible to achieve in the timescale available. Members asked if this timescale could be extended in any way. The secretariat for the group advised that it could not.

Members agreed that the final outcome for the advisory group needed to create an impact but also be measurable. The final outcome needs to fit all young people and not focus on one specific group or minority. However, members acknowledged that specific groups of children and young people do have different experiences, such as BME, disabled children and young people and those that identify as LGBTI, etc. which needs to be acknowledged throughout the group’s work.

Members agreed that the overall outcome of the group needed to be grounded within the context of wellbeing and resilience and not just focus on body image as an issue by itself. Additionally, that body image, wellbeing and resilience cannot be seen as solely a medical issue but something that is part of one’s wider wellbeing. 

Members also acknowledged that the issue of negative body image does not and will not impact on all young people. It was agreed that during the course of the group’s lifespan that members would create a list of organisations and projects which are currently supporting children and young people to achieve a healthy body image to include in their final report.

Members agreed that the work of the group needed to focus on how children and young people currently interact with the world as previous interventions to improve body image in children and young people have focused on traditional media only, such as magazines. Members agreed that social media needed to be a part of the group’s work going forward. Members also raised that the group could not focus only on social media but on wider society and culture, such as ‘Fat Talk’ and bullying. 

The group acknowledged that the scope of the recommendations that the group could present to the Scottish Government needed to be in the context of the legislative powers of the government. Members discussed the UK Government’s public enquiry in the impacts of reality television shows and the role of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in governing social media companies and how these related to their work.

Girlguiding Scotland also mentioned the forthcoming advice on Healthy Social Media and Screen Time use which is being produced by the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament and the importance of linking in with this as it is produced.

13:45 – break

14:00 - terms of reference and remit of advisory group 

The group discussed the draft terms of reference that was circulated to them before and during the meeting. The group agreed the following changes:

  • change the title of the group to Advisory Group on Healthy Body Image for Children and Young People
  • include reference to mental wellbeing along with mental health
  • update the Group’s remit to identify a definition of body image that is relevant to all Scottish children and young people
  • broaden “professionals” to include everyone in a young person’s life
  • include “consider the need for wider public consultation on where action should be taken” into the Scottish Government recommendation remit

14:30 - working agreement

The group decided to focus on themed meetings. The group decided the following meeting timetable:

  • September - public health and wider society, with a focus on existing definitions, policy context, current approaches and protective factors
  • October – actions and support for children and young people
  • November – actions and support for those around the child or young person, such as family, support networks and professionals

The group also decided to nominate members to be responsible for collecting the groups finding on certain areas for the next meeting in September.

The Chairs proposed the idea of an all-day December meeting.  

Action: For members to send any relevant information to the following group members, and to keep Julie, Katie and the Secretariat copied in:

  • Julie and Katie – definitions of healthy body image 
  • Rachel – current policy which influences body image
  • Rachel and Fiona – public health approaches to body image
  • Helen S and Petya – risks and protective factors 

14:50 – AOB 

The group were reminded to respond to the doodle poll sent by the Secretariat for future meeting dates.

Action: The Secretariat to resend the future meetings doodle poll and to finalise a date for the September meeting.

15:00 – meeting close

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