„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


17th January 2017

Be Real is campaigning to change attitudes to body image and help all of us put health above appearance and be confident in our bodies.

What is Be Real?

Be Real is a national movement made up of individuals, schools, businesses, charities and public bodies.

Be Real was formed in response to the Reflections on Body Image report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image. Chaired by MP Mary Glindon and co-ordinated by YMCA England, the campaign was founded in partnership with Dove and is sponsored by bareMinerals, N Brown, New Look, and Superdrug.

Be Real unites individuals and organisations, amplifying the voices of those working to change attitudes and behaviour. Supporting them with research and resources, we're bringing together their expertise and influence and working collectively to build a body confident nation.

The research carried out among young people 11 - 16 years old, has found that in the UK:

  • 52% of 11 to 16 year olds worry about how they look
  • 30% withdraw themselves from activities because of low body confidence
  • 36% said they were willing to do 'whatever it takes to look good', including considering cosmetic surgery
  • 76% of 11 to 16 year olds who learned about body confidence as part of their school curriculum said it made them feel more positive about themselves.

Aims of the campaign

We know that low body confidence is damaging people's lives. It affects everyone - all ages, both sexes - and starts young. It impacts people's physical and mental health and holds them back in life, stopping them from achieving all that they could.

YMCA England campaign focuses on three areas where we'll bring about real change.

Real education: We want to give children and young people a body confident start to life. We're calling for parents to set a positive example, schools to adopt a whole-school approach and young people to support each other to be body confident. Find out what's happening to create Real education

Real health: We want healthy living and general wellbeing to be prioritised over just appearance and weight. We're calling for the healthcare sector and those in the diet, health and fitness industries to promote long-term healthy living and wellbeing ahead of short-term quick fixes. We want individuals to celebrate feeling good and being healthy. Find out what's happening to encourage Real health

Real diversity: We want the media, businesses and advertisers to positively reflect what we really look like. We're calling for businesses, publishers, editors and advertisers to act responsibly by positively promoting different body shapes and sizes, people with and without disabilities, and all ages, genders and ethnicities. We want the public to choose brands that promote body confidence and challenge those that don't. Find out what's happening to create Real diversity.

Contact Liam Preston - the head of the Campaign - to find out more about the campaign aims or find out how you can support the Be Real Campaign.

Read more about "Somebody Like Me" - A report investigating the impact of body image anxiety on young people in the UK, January 2017

Read more about "Be Real" - Body Confidence Campaign toolkit for schools

Or VISIT the website of the campaign


Author/Source: A YMCA England Campaign #BeRealSchool

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