Government responds to Youth Select Committee report on body image issues

27 March 2018

The Youth Select Committee has received an official response from the Government to its report on tackling body dissatisfaction amongst children and young people.

Evidence for the report - entitled ‘A Body Confident Future’ - was gathered in 2017 from a range of witnesses, including high-profile bloggers, social media companies, charities, teachers and mental health professionals. Just like UK Parliament Select Committees, the Youth Select Committee heard evidence inside a Committee Room in Parliament, which is normally reserved for MPs and sent its findings to the Government for an official response.

Following the inquiry, the Committee concluded that body dissatisfaction was causing long lasting consequences for young people. It stressed that the Government needed to take action in a number of areas including health, education and media to tackle this issue.

In its response, the Government recognises that although positive work is already being carried out, there is much more to do. In particular, the Government has committed to considering how understanding on body dissatisfaction among specific groups can be improved, carrying out an audit on current support available to young people, and doing more to tackle online bullying and the negative effects of social media. The NHS Youth Forum’s work in producing a poster on body image for GP waiting rooms also aligns with the Committee’s recommendations in this area.

Thomas Copeland, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, said:

“The Youth Select Committee welcomes the Government’s response to the committee’s report ‘A Body Confident Future’. We are pleased to see the Government have not only recognised the importance of body image but have also acknowledged gaps in its understanding of the many complex factors that contribute towards body dissatisfaction. The Government have made a number of commitments in their response, including a commitment to further understand how body dissatisfaction affects different groups. We look forward to seeing how the Government goes on to ensure their commitments are implemented as soon as possible. Young people’s mental health and well-being must be taken seriously if we are to mitigate the detrimental effects of body dissatisfaction.”

The Youth Select Committee who were aged 13-18, included Members of the Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors, a Youth Mayor and representatives from each of the devolved nations. It has just been announced that this year’s Committee will investigate the barriers preventing young people from accessing work experience.

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