Monday, February 13, 2006

Australia's plan for Body Image issues

Push for code on body image
By Orietta Guerrera
February 9, 2006

A NATIONAL code of conduct on how to handle body image issues could soon be developed for Australia's media and fashion industries in an effort to curb the problem of eating disorders among young people.

Youth Affairs Minister Jacinta Allan yesterday said the State Government would form a working group — expected to include advertisers, media owners and the fashion industry — by June this year to look at the best way to pursue a national code and promote positive body images.

The group will examine the impact of food advertising on children's eating habits, ways of identifying digitally enhanced photographs in magazines and the language used to describe people's body sizes.

The State Government yesterday said it would either fully or partially implement all 12 recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into issues of body image among young people.
Ms Allan said during the 18-month inquiry young people had identified the media and fashion industry as negative sources on body image issues. But she said the code of conduct would be voluntary and the industries would continue to be largely self-regulated.

"You don't want to go into a heavy regulated approach," she said. "For this sort of thing to work it needs to be something that the participants willingly get involved in."

The inquiry's report, released in August last year, revealed serious gaps in the way health services treat people with body image problems, particularly in rural Victoria.

The Government has promised to carry out an audit of health resources available to treat eating disorders to identify shortages and deal with them.

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