Promoting Positive Body Image Training with Dr. Caryn Bello by: Stephanie Lincoln

Our recent training on promoting positive body image was an active, engaging, and eye-opening discussion lead by Dr. Caryn Bello, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in self-esteem, body image and eating disorders.

Dr. Bello earned her Psy.D from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was a Fellow at UMASS Amherst Health Service, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University. She is a professional member of the Massachusetts Psychological Association and the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association.

Rooted in statistics and realities of American and Western culture, Dr. Bello stepped Junior League members through why and how many people are impacted by body image issues during their lives.

To give you an idea of how many people are affected by negative body image, take a look at these statistics:

  • Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.
  • 58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight.
  • 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • Studies show that the more reality television a young girl watches, the more likely she is to find appearance important.

Our audience was shocked by the young age and percentage of girls affected. With a renewed understanding, the discussion revolved around how each of us can become more aware and active around this topic.

From limiting negative media exposure, to selecting realistic and more inclusive toys for children, to shifting conversations away from boys being “strong” and girls being “cute” and “adorable,” toward girls also being recognized for their brilliant minds and creative dreams.

Training attendees left more aware of the body image space, and equipped with new tools for interacting with children and adults alike.