Gok calls for body confidence lessons

Candy Bellinger

TV presenter Gok Wan has called for the government to provide body confidence lessons for teenage pupils today. Handing over a petition to Downing Street, Gok said that pupils should be taught about normal body shapes in a bid to counter body image issues caused by the 'perfect' bodies of celebrities and models.

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The petition included over 45,000 signatures as Wan asked Education Secretary Ed Balls to include such lessons in the national curriculum as part of the Personal, Social and Health Education syllabus.

As part of his Channel 4 show, How to Look Good Naked, Gok has been investigating body image among British teenagers and said: "Lack of body confidence has become a national epidemic. Our survey revealed an alarming number of adolescents are struggling with basic body identity.

"Over 70 per cent of teenagers have admitted they have little or no body confidence at all. We have a social and public responsibility to advise and care for the next generation. We need to teach the next generation that what we see in the media is not a fair representation of the real body."

Wan, who has been working with women on his show for a number of years, insisted that the air-brushed and re-touched images that young people are exposed to means "they just have no idea of how their body should look".

He added: "I think that if we get into the schools and teach these kids about what is a healthy body and how all different kinds of bodies can exist in the same space then they will have a lot more acceptance for themselves and each other."

Let us know what you think. Should schools take action over children's body image issues?