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Body dissatisfaction: an overlooked public health concern

Michaela M. Bucchianeri (Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, and in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, based at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer (Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, based at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 10 June 2014

Abstract

Purpose

In contrast to the attention it has received in related fields of research, body image has remained understudied within the field of public health. This is highly problematic, given a growing body of evidence implicating body dissatisfaction in a range of other public health concerns. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This commentary is based on a review of the public health, body image, eating disorder, and mental health literatures.

Findings

Body dissatisfaction is implicated in a range of public health concerns, including impaired psychological health (e.g. depression) and eating- and weight-related problems (e.g. eating disorders, obesity).

Originality/value

Given these associations, as well as the high levels of body dissatisfaction in the population, the authors argue for a critical need to address the prevalence of body image concerns as a public health issue worthy of greater consideration within programs and policies; dedicated funding for research on antecedents, consequences, and intervention strategies; and allocated resources for training.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Supported by National Research Service Award (NRSA) in Primary Medical Care, grant no. T32HP22239 (PI: Borowsky), Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.

Citation

M. Bucchianeri, M. and Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2014), "Body dissatisfaction: an overlooked public health concern", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 64-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-11-2013-0071

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited