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How Bad Is Your Body Image?

Updated on July 30, 2012
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Affecting Us All

We hear the term "body image" thrown around a lot these days, mostly in regards to eating disorders. But what is it, really, and how does it affect the average person? Because, increasingly, body image is becoming a problem for everyone... from you to your daughter, your mother, and even your husband or boyfriend.

The statistics are shocking, even if you've heard them before:

  • 42% of elementary school students between the 1st and 3rd grades want to be thinner.
  • 80% of children who are ten years old are afraid of being fat.
  • 25% of men and 45% of women are on a diet on any given day.
  • 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
  • 51% of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet.
  • 91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, 22% dieted "often" or "always."
  • 45% of men and 55% of women are dissatisfied with their physiques.

So how bad is your body image? Read on to find out.

A Working Definition

Body Image is...

Assessing Your Image

Take out a pen and paper. For every question, write a 1 if your answer is "rarely/never," 2 if your answer is "sometimes," or 3 if it is "often/always." Answer as truthfully as you can, trying to think about the big picture as you do, and not just how you're feeling today.

  1. Does your mood affect how you feel about your body?
  2. Is it hard to accept compliments on your appearance?
  3. How often do you worry about your weight?
  4. Does what you eat affect how attractive you feel?
  5. Are you self-concious about eating what you want in front of others?
  6. Do you feel guilty if you skip a workout?
  7. Do you find yourself not liking those you see as more attractive than yourself?
  8. How often do you make negative comments about your looks?
  9. Do you regularly ask others how you look?
  10. Do you avoid situations, simply because of what you would need to wear? (eg swimming, parties)

Now, total your score, and check it against the categories below. If you got:

10-15: Great! Your body image is healthy and relatively positive.

16-23: You fall in the middle, or average range. While your body image is better than some, you could appreciate your body more for what it does for you.

24-30: Body image is a real struggle for you. Take some time to pamper your body, and work on the mental aspects of the problem, by picking up a body-positive book, or joining a support group.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, remember, you are not alone. You can feel better about yourself.

Exit Poll

What score did you get on the body image quiz?

See results


Please vote in the "exit poll" to the right and see where you fall compared to other readers.

Check out how to improve your body image, as well as some of the resources below, and feel free to leave a comment below with your questions/concerns.


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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. In related news, yesterday I saw a post on Facebook about a protest demonstration by some teen girls requesting that Teen Magazine commit to "Photoshop-free, diverse images of real girls".

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 5 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      You have hit the nail on the head. I have now read all of your hubs on the subject of body image and followed all the links. I must admit, my score was in the toilet on this one. Poor body image or body dismorphic disorder is an issue for me. Weight was always an issue in our family. Not that we were overweight, but that it was talked about incessantly. The sad thing is that it trickled down through the generations. Now my daughter (grown), feels just as I do. I will definitely follow up with the advice and links you have provided though this insightful and informative hub.

    • profile image

      Kris 6 years ago

      I like this, the media causes most of these problems though,did you know models weigh 23% less than the average person, making everyone with a healthy weight look 'fat'? and they do this so you will spend money on beauty products, I find that disgusting

    • profile image

      donafaro 7 years ago

      good article - I think my score would have been worse if you´d included other questions eg can you bear to look at yourself in the mirror? Do you take forever to chose something to wear that you feel OK in? Personally I don´t have a problem with eating and weight (I know that many do) so my score probably looks better than it should.

    • profile image

      CHESSA 7 years ago

      i used to have problems about myself but now that ive read this article im HAPPY :)

    • profile image

      LILYY 7 years ago

      Ive always felt negative about myself. I thought i was fat. But ive read this and it sounds great !!! Goood on ya HUB !!!! xx

    • profile image

      lily  7 years ago

      good article :)

    • profile image

      Contrice 7 years ago

      Cool article...I'm going to tweet this.

    • latha.maroju profile image

      latha.maroju 8 years ago

      definitely our looks have a great deal in our social and career contacts. so having a good physique is everybody's dream. I always feel myself that I look great. no matter others may think that way or not; feeling like that gives me confidence.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very good. I have to admit that I do not like my body image because others making comments about other people I apply to me and assume (mostly correct) that they are thinking the same about me.

    • Jenny30 profile image

      Jennifer 8 years ago from Canada

      great hub! Those self examination questions are really great. I often worry about my weight even though I know I am not a big person! Its all in our heads sometimes. The magazines on the market don't help that's for sure!

    • sherly_hello profile image

      sherly_hello 8 years ago

      I guess mine would be the worst..... hahaha

    • profile image

      nico  8 years ago

      There should be a class teaching people the amount of calories needed per day. It is shockingly low compared to the high caloric foods that are so readily available. The bottom line is people arent eating too much volume they are eating to many calories. I do not work out but I do not eat any processed or corn based foods. I have lost 30 pounds over the last 2 years and my depression and feelings of guilt melted away along with the weight. Eating fast foods causes hormonal imbalance leading to depression leading to self esteem issues leading to overeating. Break the chain and all the problems disappear!!!

    • profile image

      bryony1 9 years ago

      42% of elementary school students between the 1st and 3rd grades want to be thinner.80% of children who are ten years old are afraid of being fat.

      Childhood obesity is a leading health problem for kids in the age groups you've mentioned. Like parents, like children. Obesity is the same for adults as for kids.