Celeb pics used to teach about body image

June 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM
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LONDON, June 22 (UPI) -- The United Kingdom is encouraging parents to use pictures of celebrities before and after they have been airbrushed to teach their children about body image.

The government-backed campaign uses before-and-after images of celebrities such as Britney Spears and Keira Knightley to show how digitally enhanced photos are used to make celebrities look flawless in advertisements, Sky News reported Friday.

Parents can download the images and information on how enhanced photos give both boys and girls negative body images and low self-esteem.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said the campaign is aimed at empowering parents to "have those difficult conversations" with their children.

"Young people are being set an impossible standard by images in media and advertising which can erode their self-esteem. As parents, we are often aware of these issues but may not have the advice and guidance we need to talk to our children," she said.

Research by Girl Guiding UK found 75 percent of girls ages 11 to 21 admitted to dieting to look more attractive.

Parenting expert Sue Atkins said parental support is crucial in boosting children's self-esteem.

"We need to talk and we need to teach our kids that these programs and things are all airbrushed, that people have spots in real life and that we get rid of them very quickly, that people are not necessarily as slim as they look and children need to know that and pass that confidence onto their children so that they don't grow up feeling bad about themselves," she said.

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