Relationship with Body Image and Mental Health

Woman struggling with body image

Body image encompasses many different factors and includes how you feel when you see/think about your own body, what you might believe about your own appearance, and how you might feel in your body.

Many people of all ages, genders, and cultures may struggle with body image and have a negative perception of their own body and appearance. With the increased use of technology and more involvement and use of social media platforms, it doesn’t come as a surprise that negative body image is becoming more of concern across the globe.

Impact of Negative Body Image

Sadly, negative body image is becoming more and more prevalent and starting at younger ages. Studies have shown that over 40 percent of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner [1], and over 80 percent of ten year olds are afraid of being fat [2].

Body dissatisfaction, especially at this early age, can lead to more complex issues, including mental health problems like eating disorders, mood disorders, and/or personality disorders. Mental health issues can exacerbate negative body image, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break out from.

Thankfully, with appropriate support, help and intervention, it is possible to improve upon negative body image and prevent more severe mental health issues from developing further. The important thing is early identification: when you are aware of poor body image, reach out for the help and support you need to recover.

When Mental Health is in JeopardyWoman in the sun

Know the signs that more support is needed for your own mental health. If your body image struggles have negatively impacted you life to the point that you are unable to carry out with normal life and activities, this is a red flag that should not be ignored.

Feelings of depression or anxiety around your appearance or body image are not normal and should not be overlooked. Confide in a loved one or someone you can trust as a beginning point for recovering from poor body image.

Remember that there are likely many different factors that might be influencing why you feel poorly about yourself and in your own body. Trying to “fix” your perceived flaws is not a means of healing poor/negative body image. Connect to the help you need today!


Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


[1]: Collins, M. E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among pre-adolescent children.International Journal of Eating Disorders,10(2), 199-208.
[2]: Mellin, L., McNutt, S., Hu, Y., Schreiber, G. B., Crawford, P., &Obarzanek, E. (1997). A longitudinal study of the dietary practices of black and white girls 9 and 10 years old at enrollment: The NHLBI growth and health study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 20(1), 27-37.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 4, 2017
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