Body Image

The “101”

Paying attention to your physical appearance and comparing your body to your peers are normal and occurs among people of all genders. By comparing to others, you may notice differences that will make you curious. It’s really important to remember that there are many “body types,” and no one type is better or worse than any other type. Also, people’s bodies change from childhood to adulthood at different paces (this change is called “puberty”). So there is a lot of variability in people’s physical appearances. What’s really important is that if your physical appearance, body size, or body shape is causing you curiosity, anxiety, or stress, talk to a healthcare provider or an adult you trust about your questions or concerns.

Reflect On It

Write in your journal (download journal) any thoughts you have as you think about this topic, using the questions below:

Learn More

Body Image and Self-Esteem Read or listen to the discussion about body image and self-esteem.

Take Action!

Get Medical Care

If you’re thinking about a change in your body size or shape, it’s important to visit a healthcare provider so that the change you want can be planned with an expert and monitored. Tell the adult responsible for your health care, or make an appointment with a healthcare provider if you are responsible for your own health care. You can set an appointment with your family’s provider, or at a community health organization that offers free or low-cost health care services if you don’t have a regular care provider or health insurance.

If you or your family is not insured or does not have a regular healthcare provider, consider getting your health services through a community health center. Use the Find-a-Health-Center Tool to locate a community health center by ZIP Code.

Use the Find a Family Planning Clinic tool to locate a family planning clinic by state, city, or ZIP code.

Use this tool to locate an Indian Health Service, Tribal, or Urban Indian Health Program facility. 

Get Emotional Care

If you are feeling stressed or anxious about your physical appearance, body weight, or body size, you may want to talk about those feelings with a therapist or counselor. If you or your family has health insurance, there is a way for you to access therapy or counseling services through your primary care provider or behavioral health provider. If you or your family does not have health insurance, find free or low-cost mental health services by ZIP Code and type of service or reach the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online.

Get Help in a Physical Emergency

Call 911 if you are having any type of physical emergency, including an emergency related to your physical appearance, body size, or body shape.

Get Help in an Emotional Emergency

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or initiate a confidential online chat with a trained counselor if you are really sad or are considering harming yourself for any reason, including your physical appearance, body size, or body shape.

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