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Michaela M. Bucchianeri and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
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…
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.