- Female models in the U.S. average a size 0 or 00. Most of these models are between age 14-19 and most have not yet developed into a woman's body.
- Very few (if any) women are genetically capable of attaining the body shapes and sizes that are presented in the media. Even models don't look like the air-brushed images that are displayed in magazines and on billboards.
- The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs about 140 pounds. The average clothing size for women in the U.S. is between a 12-14.
It's important to remember that men are not immune to these issues. According to a recent body image study, 45% of men are dissatisfied with their physiques.
- The "ideal man" maintains little to no body fat and has specific muscle groups that are over-developed.
- The images presented by male models are unattainable for most men, regardless of hours spent in the gym.
- Disordered eating and excessive exercise behaviors have become increasingly common among men.
- Research shows that the average size for "real men" in America is a 44 versus the 40 regular of male models. The average height is 5 feet 9 inches and the average weight is about 162 pounds among American men.
*Remember: NO two bodies are created to look exactly the same; many people will fall above and many will fall below these averages and still be perfectly healthy.*
Other ways to improve body image include:
- Be aware that many of the images you see in the media are unrealistic.
- Offering affirmation to yourself and others who choose to accept realistic body types instead of the images presented in the media.
- Challenging yourself and others to value people with strong character, integrity, and compassion regardless of body shape and size.
- Allowing your body to find and stabilize at its natural set point weight and size while maintaining a balanced diet and activity plan to improve long-term health.
If you struggle with food, body, and/or exercise, help is available. Check out the Mindful Eating Program.
Gaining Weight Handout (PDF)
Losing Weight Handout (PDF)
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