University of Bath researchers and the national charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care have created a free educational resource, which helps explore a wide variety of young people’s body-themed topics, including appearance pressures, disordered eating, social media, and digital health technologies.

Developed with the support of the University of Bath Alumni Fund and specifically designed for flexible teaching, the new resource includes classroom activities, videos, group projects ideas and whole school approaches to promoting body positive confidence and culture.

The resource is aimed at supporting teaching and learning at Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) but is equally suitable for youth projects working with the same age groups, or for use at home by parents and young people concerned about, or struggling with, such issues.

“Anorexia and Bulimia Care have said that, during lockdown, and as we emerge from lockdown, concerns and issues related to youth wellbeing, body image and disordered eating can be heightened. We hope that this research and resource can help young people experiencing body dissatisfaction and inform those trying to help sufferers,” said Niamh Ni Shuilleabhain, PhD researcher at the University of Bath.

The free ‘Body Positive Schools’ resource, and the accompanying animated videos created with fat activist, artist and animator Stacy Bias, are available on the charity’s dedicated webpage here.

Recognising the rising number of young people experiencing body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, the University of Bath researched and gathered evidence on how to help address these concerns through schools-based approaches.

Niamh Ni Shuilleabhain’s PhD research, supervised by Professor Emma Rich, Professor Simone Fullagar and Dr. Jessica Francombe Webb, built on previous work carried out by members of the Physical Culture, Sport and Health Research Group at Bath.

Ni Shuilleabain’s PhD project, carried out in collaboration with Anorexia and Bulimia Care, explored how teaching and learning surrounding the body might be done in a way that prevents, and responds to, feelings of body dissatisfaction amongst young people. The research involved work with two secondary schools in the South West. Niamh worked with approximately 380 Year 8 students and their teachers, to co-create approaches to health education and promote body positive school cultures.

Anorexia and Bulimia Care has provided personal care and support for over 30 years to anyone affected by anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and all types of eating distress. The charity aims to relieve the suffering of those with eating disorders, to encourage and assist others to care for sufferers, and to educate and train and advise those caring for sufferers as well as carrying out preventative education.