The Be Real campaign is determined to change attitudes to body image and help all of us put health above appearance and be confident in our bodies. It is a national movement made up of individuals, schools, businesses, charities and public bodies. 

A recent report written by YMCA England & Wales investigates the origins of body image expectations and pressures experienced by young people.

Over the past two years research has been carried out looking into the issues that young people have with body image. Many young people suffer in silence, worrying that they 'don't look good enough' in our current society. This leads to some serious mental health issues down the line:

Building on these findings, this research seeks to understand the origin of the expectations and pressures young people face to help create practical solutions to how this problem can be addressed.

The research demonstrates that celebrities exert significant influence on how young people view themselves and their body confidence. These expectations and pressures manifest themselves through mediums young people interact with daily, such as TV, film, music, fashion, social media and magazines, as well as their friends and peer groups.

Too often the influence they exert is a negative one, impacting on young people’s emotional wellbeing, relationships, and their education and employment. To change this reality, both celebrities and the businesses that operate the mediums through which they reach young people need to recognise and take seriously the responsibility they have.

Read the full Great Expectations report here.

At YMCA Newcastle we want to support young people to become body confident - click here to find out about our body confidence School Toolkit.