Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Break

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Teens preoccupied with how they look

The new series of BBC1’s Child Of Our Time, hosted by Professors Tanya Byron and Robert Winston aired last week.

In the first episode they looked at the effects of biology and technology on the body image of modern teenagers.

Professor Winston stated: “All our teenagers are more concerned about the way they look and their body image than they ever were as children”.

When the teens were 7 years old, the BBC asked them what they felt about their bodies. They were shown a set of images and asked to select the one that was most like them. They were then asked if they would prefer to look like one of the other images. On the whole, the children were happy with their body.

However, at 16 the teenagers are now much more critical of their appearance. Unlike when they were 7, given the choice most of them would prefer a different body”. The teen’s body image comments included:

'I would like to be taller, less fat.'
‘ I would prefer myself with a slimmer frame'.
‘I am a bit too skinny, I would just like to be able to put on a bit more weight. Being called anorexic is not too great'.

Most people recognize the fact that teenagers tend to be self-conscious. Science now points to a particular change in the teenage brain. In experiments with adults and teenagers, an adult brains shows little activity when asked to think about being judged by others, while teenagers show a huge amount of activity. The part of the brain of interest is called the Prefrontal Cortex; it is associated with how we perceive others and how we think others perceive us. During the teenage years, the Prefrontal Cortex undergoes enormous changes, resulting in a preoccupation in what teenagers think others think about them.

Alongside brain changes; technological change, social media in particular, has created an environment where teens are constantly posting selfies online, which are then judged by others. This effects, significantly in many cases, teenage body image and confidence.

“The combination of a world obsessed with selfies and a brain extra sensitive to the judgment of others”, concluded Professor Winston, “means that it is no surprise that today's teens are preoccupied with how they look”.

 

Thursday, April 06, 2017

'Apprehensive about taking my wig off'

Victoria Derbyshire has posted a video diary titled 'Taking my wig off'. In the video she expresses her feelings about her hair, wig, cancer and body image”

“Okay, so it's time to stop wearing a wig, which I have been wearing since December 2015, since I had chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment.

“Probably about ½ my hair maybe ¾ of my hair fell out as a result of the treatment. I have to say losing my hair was the worst bit about cancer treatment for me; more so then having a mastectomy. Don't judge me for that, it's just the way I felt. I am grateful to this wig actually, because it helped me get on with things, go to work, live my life normally without worry, it is time for it to go”.

[Victoria takes of her wig]

“This is my new hair, this is about 12 months growth since chemo finished and it's come back as thick as it was if not thicker; as shiny as it was, slightly more 'ringlety' than it was before, but I am actually apprehensive about taking my wig off, because this is not me. I know it doesn't really matter what my hair looks like, the point is this, if proof was needed, once chemotherapy is complete your hair does grow back. When you're in some of those dark moments during chemo, you do doubt that, as irrational and absurd as that sounds.

“Your body does slowly renew itself once chemo is complete and there is something really optimistic about that."

 

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Inactivity and health

There is a warning that sedentary lifestyles could be slowly killing you.

A new report from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that 20 million Britons are physically inactive totaling 31% of the population. "Inactive" is defined as not achieving the government guidelines for physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week.

The report identifies a north south divide across England with people in the north-west the most inactive 47%, compared to the south east, the most active region, totaling 34%. 

Click on image to view enlargement.

The male versus female findings, show that each year men spent a fifth of their time or 78 days inactive (sitting down) why females spent 74 days.

More than 5 million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall. Evidence shows keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% and risk of early death by as much as 30%.

Dr Mike Knapton, BHF Associate Medical Director, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the most significant global health crises of the moment. Levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in the UK remain stubbornly high, and combined these two risk factors present a substantial threat to our cardiovascular health and risk of early death”.