If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wished for a slimmer waist, a better complexion or a completely different body, you’re not alone. According to the National Organization for Women, 53% of girls report being “unhappy with their bodies” by the time they reach 13. This statistic climbs to a devastating 78% by the time the girls reach 17.
Girls certainly aren’t alone in this. According to the National Library of Medicine, up to 82% of adolescent boys between the ages of 13 and 17 report dissatisfaction with their bodies and a desire to change at least one thing about themselves.
While adolescent girls overwhelmingly reported a desire to be smaller and thinner, adolescent boys conveyed a desire to be bigger, taller and more muscular than their male peers. For young transgender or nonbinary individuals, gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia can be challenging experiences that hinder their quality of life.
Along with VALLEY, Penn State recognizes how difficult it can be to accept yourself exactly as you are, so the university is helping students feel content with the skin they’re in. Love Your Body Week is an annual collaboration between Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW), the Gender Equity Center, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Campus Recreation. This year, Love Your Body Week will take place from Oct. 24-28th. All events during Love Your Body Week are free and open to Penn State students, staff, faculty and community members.
Events include presentations such as “How to Help a Friend with an Eating Disorder,” which takes place from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 24th in 134 HUB-Robeson Center. Kelly Hoffheins, a registered dietitian, will walk participants through the best ways to approach a friend or loved one who may be struggling with disordered eating. Additionally, Hoffheins will discuss campus resources at Penn State that foster body-positivity.
Love Your Body Week will also host a variety of fitness and physical wellness classes, ranging from upper body strength, yoga and meditation, barbell strength, core, total body, Zumba, barre, pilates and yogalates. Participants can combine these wellness classes with helpful resources like the Intuitive Eating Workshop, also hosted by Kelly Hoffheins in 134 HUB-Robeson Center on Oct. 25th from 6-7 p.m. Hoffheins will present evidence-based approaches to intuitive eating that incorporate your mind, body and spirit into a healthy and positive relationship with food.
No matter who you are, it’s important to love your body exactly as it is. Every day, your body fights so hard to keep you healthy, happy and living!