Bailey Review highlights need for children’s body anxieties to be tackled – Jo

Speaking in Parliament, Jo has raised the importance of building children’s positive self-esteem.

Following the recent Bailey Review, which highlighted parent concerns that exposure to sexualised imagery fuels children’s body anxieties, Jo asked Health Minister Anne Milton what the Government would do to improve children’s self-esteem.

Anne Milton, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, agreed with Jo on the importance of supporting children to deal with sexualised imagery and building self-esteem, and said that plans to put this support in place were reflected in the recent Public Health White Paper.

Commenting, Jo said:

“Children face pressures from all fronts today – from owning the latest clothes and gadgets, to looking like the models they see in advertisements and magazines.

“The Bailey Review rightly highlighted wide concerns that sexualised imagery, everywhere from the high street to TV advertisements, is having a damaging effect on children’s self-esteem and body anxieties. It is reassuring that body image has been reflected a growing public health concern in the recent White Paper, and I look forward to seeing Ministers work with schools to develop ways to tackle this.”

The full text of Jo’s question and the Health Minister’s reply is as follows:

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): As the public health White Paper recognises, building positive self-esteem is important for children’s health and well-being. Yesterday, the Bailey review highlighted many parents’ concerns that exposure to very sexualised imagery in our visual culture fuels children’s anxieties about their bodies and reduces self-esteem. How do the Government plan to tackle that as a growing public health issue?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anne Milton): I thank the hon. Lady for her question. She raises an important point about children’s exposure to such imagery from a variety of media sources. It is crucial for the future public health of our country that children get help and support over this and are able to learn the skills they need, and we are determined to get that right. Many of our plans are laid out in the White Paper, and we look forward to seeing them become a reality.

  1. The Bailey Review’s findings are available online from the Department for Education’s website here:

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