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