Body love: Can the right activities get us out of a negative body image spiral?

Low body confidence is a wide-spread issue, with one in four U.K. women affected. It goes beyond being unhappy with your body – women with low body confidence feel trapped in their mindset, interpret media input negatively and are more affected by set-backs, creating an emotional downward spiral. What’s worse, starting activities with the aim of improving one’s body confidence can back-fire when the aim is not achieved quickly. What can be done to break this downward spiral?

Hearst UK and Mindlab explored the types of activities women engage in and how these may influence their perceptions of their own body, showing us which actions can have longer-lasting benefits instead of shorter-term gratification. The results from this mixed-method implicit and explicit research show the actions that are linked to higher confidence, but also highlight the importance of the underlying motivations and mindsets in achieving a positive outcome. It also showcases the need for individual expression in achieving a positive body image, rather than a one-size-fits-all quick fix.

The goal of this research was to help us empower women to feel more confident about their bodies by understanding what is most likely to inform and educate women on the longer-term impact that some activities can deliver, over others. We will discuss the role the media has to play in unravelling the downward spiral, and showcase how Hearst UK publications, led by Women’s Health, have used the insights to make a positive impact.

Key takeaways:

  1. There is a link between the type of activities women engage with and their level of body confidence.
  2. Underlying mindsets play a key role, and body confidence needs to be viewed as a holistic issue.
  3. The media has the power to support positive body image in women through placing a focus on mindset and moving beyond short-term gratification.

Case Study Joint Presentation Media


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