Publication - Minutes

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

Date of meeting: 19 Nov 2019
Location: Mental Health Foundation, Glasgow

Minutes from the fourth meeting of the Advisory Group on 19 November 2019.

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

Attendees and apologies

Attendees

  • Julie Cameron (Co-Chair) 
  • Katie Reid (Co-Chair) 
  • Rachel Thomson 
  • Carolyn Fox McKay                                         
  • Leanne Ferries 
  • Petya Eckler 
  • Helen Sharpe 
  • Fariha Thomas
  • Angela Harris – Changing Faces

Secretariat and Policy Officials from the Scottish Government were also present.

Apologies

  • Helen Forrest
  • Frances Duffy
  • Simita Kumar
  • Fiona Duffy

Items and actions

13:00 – Welcome 

The Chairs welcomed everyone to the fourth meeting of the Advisory Group. 

13:10 – Review of minutes of the third meeting

Group discussed and approved the minutes from the Third Meeting.

The Group discussed the actions from the Third Meeting and what actions still needed to be completed.

Actions:

  • Julie to share The First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) material
  • Helen Forrest to look into youth groups/organisations relating to long term health conditions
  • Helen Forrest to share long term health contacts
  • Katie to contact with CAPS Advocacy
  • Katie to contact her college LGBT Resource Officer about availability to attend future meeting
  • Julie to send a reminder email to the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Body Image to discuss the recommendations and how these were taken forward since their publication in 2012

13:30 – Angela to discuss Changing Faces

Angela introduced herself and provided an overview of Changing Faces to the Group.

Angela explained how Changing Faces focuses not just on differences to individual’s faces but also their bodies too. The Group discussed the importance of thinking about body image in the context of how you feel about your body and a wide range of factors rather than just on weight. The Group discussed the Shine Network regarding this.

The Organisation has a strong link with self-harm recovery through their Skin Camouflage Service. Which works with anyone who would like to camouflage scarring or a skin condition. 

Angela mentioned Changing Faces’ Youth Action Group, who engage with schools to provide equality workshops to children and young people, and how through this engagement with schools the organisation helps to develop education strategies, teacher training, and provide training resources. 

It was agreed that Members of the Group should meet with the Youth Action Group. 

More information about Changing Faces can be found here.

Actions: 

  • Julie to contact the Youth Action Group, through Luisa, to engage further about their work and about Body Image
  • Julie to contact Joe Inchley and Shine Network

14:00 – Leanne to discuss Childline work

Leanne discussed Childline’s recent survey on Body Image which she had placed on the Childline website. Unfortunately due to data protection restrictions the survey was only live for a short period of time. However, the information that was collected during this time was still very useful. 

Children and Young People identified a number of issues that impacted how they felt about their bodies and their body image, such as; Girls mentioned concerns around their breast size, and boys mentioned the pressure to ‘bulk up’ or to build muscle. There was also mention of how self-harm impacted their body image too.

The influence of parents and family on children and young people’s perceptions of their bodies was highly mentioned. With children and young people mentioning that off the cuff comments from family members about their weight or appearance had incredibly negative impacts on them. However, family members would see it as a joke or something that wasn’t to be taken seriously. 

The Group agreed that the influence of family was incredibly important for how young people think and feel about their bodies and needed to be made a priority for their final recommendations. 

In addition, Leanne explained that the majority of children and young people who completed the survey would often respond to positive questions in a very negative way. Which highlighted how body image and the feelings they held about their bodies always tended to be negative rather than positive. In addition to this children and young people also focused less on weight when talking about body image and more about how they feel about their bodies.

Katie also discussed her work with BEAT and their visits to schools to educate them about eating disorders and body image. They found that during these visits children and young people were happy to talk about social media and the impacts that had on them but were not comfortable to talk about any body image concerns or how they felt.  BEAT also conducted a survey which Katie said she would share with the Group.

Actions: 

  • Secretariat to share answers from Katie’s school visits
  • Secretariat to share Childline annual reports and information packs

14:30 – Break

14:45 – Group discussed completed action points

Helen S and Petya discussed their findings when contacting universities about if body image is included in teacher training. Only a handful of institutions responded.

The found that: Strathclyde University covers body image as part of optional classes as well as being a care area of post graduate programmes. Petya mentioned that the University was also including the RSHP resource into the teacher training to ensure that all new teachers were aware of the new resource. 

Helen found that Moray House, The University of Edinburgh, includes body image through health and food education, however it is not included in a particular curriculum. 

Helen discussed how the University of Edinburgh PE Teacher Training take a more sociological perspective on bodies and different experiences of children and young during PE.

Overall there was a general lack of consistency of training across those institutions that responded.

Rachel contacted Health Scotland regarding the recommendation calling on health services to reframe and adopt neutral language in diagnosis and letters in relation to weight and body image. Replies stated that this was being actively discussed and work was being done to avoid stigma and address weight stigma. 

Fariha discussed contacts in community based training. Overall there seemed to a lack of consistency across organisations around training.

Julie discussed parenting programmes, and found that body image was not generally included.  

Actions:

  • Helen to share resources of experiences in PE
  • Secretariat to enquire with Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood contact
  • Fariha to gather a list of who was contacted
  • Mental Health Foundation to collate a table of parenting programmes and body image

15:00 – Julie and Katie discussed social media work

Julie and Katie discussed their meeting with a group of social media influencers. 

They discussed how body image issues in social media affects their work, how different industries capitalise on the public’s insecurities and the difference between a healthy body and a healthy body image.  

They recommended that the group took into account the use of the word “healthy” and how not everyone has the “luxury of health”. It is important that we do not confuse healthy body image with a health body as these are not the same thing. Body Image and having a healthy view of this is based on rights. It is based on how you want to feel about your body.

The group discussed that hate speech regarding someone’s body does not have the same stigma and severity as hate speech regarding race, sexuality etc. The Group discussed that this was possibly because the industry around body image and the economic value that is attached to this industry means that companies have more to lose if this is type of hate speech is cracked down upon. 

Actions: 

  • Scottish Government officials to enquire with Children’s disabilities team.
  • Carolyn to ask Tressa about their work.
  • Katie to organise meeting with CAPS advocacy, re. men’s body image.
  • Julie to look into best placed organisation for poverty representation.
  • Katie to discuss body image at BEAT parent and carers conference.

15:30 – Close