BE REAL’s

BodyKind

High School, Body Image Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

Today’s explosion of visual social media—such as Instagram and TikTok– has created an epidemic of body image problems for young people. Body dissatisfaction affects upwards of 70% of adolescent girls and 40% of adolescent boys. Research ties body dissatisfaction to a host of adolescent mental health problems. COVID has exacerbated these mental health problems for young people, as they have spent more time alone and on social media. There is a critical need for a body image curriculum to be taught in schools. 

BE REAL created BodyKind to provide an evidence-based, high school body image curriculum to address the needs of today’s students. This 4-lesson curriculum for high school, health or advisory class starts with what the field of eating disorder prevention has learned from 20 years of research on body image and eating disorder prevention. We’ve added a discussion of Appearance Bias–discrimination based on physical features–to the conversation. We talk about how experiencing prejudice affects student body confidence. We’ve also added evidence-based self-compassion tools for students to use when they compare themselves to images of people they see on social media.

Be Real’s Bodykind curriculum includes:

Four 50-minute lesson plans

Worksheets

In-class exercises

Homework

Classroom slides

Training videos for teachers

Be Real’s Bodykind Lesson Summaries

Lesson 1

 Appearance BiasStudents learn about appearance bias—when a person is judged and treated differently based on how they look, rather than who they are or how they behave. Students take our Understanding Others’ Gallery Walk of 24 body stories. These stories help students gain an awareness of how people of different sizes and abilities, with different skin shades, facial features, gender representations, and other identities experience the world. We discuss the impact of how appearance ideals and appearance bias have pressured people to try to conform to societal ideals for attractiveness. We analyze the costs for students of responding to the appearance pressure in their environment. Students also explore how body confidence can be enhanced by (1) viewing their bodies as instruments, not ornaments; (2) having gratitude for what their body does for them everyday; and (3) accepting natural body diversity.

Lesson 2

Social Media, Comparisons, and Self-Compassion – Once students become aware of appearance pressures, we analyze how these pressures show up in their lives and in the media they consume. We discuss how self-compassion is an effective tool to cope with the negative comparisons we all make to the pictures we see on social media and places these ideal show up in our lives. Experiential exercises reframe the negative comparisons we all make in our minds to kinder, more self-compassionate thoughts that will ultimately serve students better.

Lesson 3

 Compassion for Others – Lesson 3 teaches students how to apply their newly cultivated compassion for themselves to other people in their lives. Students discuss how to create a kinder environment by quitting “body talk” and recognizing that bodies function fine in all shades, shapes, and sizes. We analyze how students’ thoughts, feelings, and actions are more positive in a kinder environment.

Lesson 4

Taking Action – In Lesson 4 students are given the tools to become change agents. They focus on steps they can take to create a better world. We help students create their own roadmap for taking an idea from an issue to action. They will learn tested, tangible steps to create an action plan on an issue they feel strongly about, empowering them to make positive changes in their communities and greater world.

Here is a preview of the BodyKind’s Lesson 1’s Understanding Others Gallery Walk: Take a gallery walk–like our high school students do– through the body stories below to understand what it is like to live in other bodies outside society’s appearance ideal. This part of the lesson is a student favorite and serves to cultivate empathy and shared humanity.

Understanding Others

A compilation of stories about what it is like to live in bodies outside of the culture’s narrow appearance ideals. These stories illustrate how not fitting into the dominant cultural norm can affect a person’s self-worth, equal rights, and opportunities. We are looking at appearance prejudice and it effects. BE REAL hopes this series will show the importance of valuing all bodies, and how valuing all bodies directly leads to valuing all people.

For more Understanding Others body stories, follow us on Instagram #BeRealUSA.

How to get Be Real’s Bodykind High School Body Image Curriculum

Individual Teachers

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The curriculum is currently available for limited release to those teachers willing to survey their students for further research.  To register to teach the BodyKind curriculum and survey your students, please fill out the Google Form to start the process:

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We will send you a link to our resource site where you will create a user name and password, view a 60-minute video on Body Confident Schools, and take a 10-question test. When you get 90% on the test you get access to the following for free:

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BodyKind curriculum:

    • The BodyKind Toolkit (48 Pages)
      • Lesson Plans
      • Worksheets
      • Homework
      • Tips and Tools for Teaching
    • Google Slides for Class

     

    • Understanding Others Body Stories (PDFs)

    Group Training

    for 1-36 People on Zoom

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    Denise Hamburger will train your small group for 3 hours on how to create a body confident school environment. She will go through best practices for teaching the BodyKind curriculum and discuss specific issues at your school.

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    $1000 donation to BE REAL.  You can make your donation here.

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    Optional: Each participant can take an 20-question test to become a Be Real Ambassador. 

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    For access to the BodyKind curriculum teachers will be directed to take 10-question test. When teachers get a 90% on the test they will be given access to:

    • The BodyKind Toolkit (48 Pages)
      • Lesson Plans
      • Worksheets
      • Homework
      • Tips and Tools for Teaching
    • Google Slides for Class

     

    • Understanding Others Body Stories (PDFs)

    In-Person Group Training

    for 1-100 People

    ^

    Denise Hamburger will train your group for 3 hours on how to create a body confident school environment. She will go through best practices for teaching the BodyKind curriculum and discuss specific issues at your school.

    ^

    $2500 donation to BE REAL. You can make your donation here.

    ^

    Optional: Each participant can take an 20-question test to become a Be Real Ambassador. 

    ^

    For access to the BodyKind curriculum teachers will be directed to take 10-question test. When teachers get a 90% on the test they will be given access to:

    • The BodyKind Toolkit (48 Pages)
      • Lesson Plans
      • Worksheets
      • Homework
      • Tips and Tools for Teaching
    • Google Slides for Class

     

    • Understanding Others Body Stories (PDFs)

    Bodykind was created by a team of International Body Image Experts

    Be Real’s BodyKind has been researched, written, and tested by an international team of academics and experts:

    Denise Hamburger

    Denise Hamburger

    Executive Director of BE REAL USA, curriculum writer, teacher, and attorney

    Zali Yager

    Zali Yager

    Associate Professor at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University; CEO, The Body Confident Collective

    Jennifer Webb

    Jennifer Webb

    Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and Health Psychology at UNC Charlotte

    Ciara Mahon

    Ciara Mahon

    Post-doctoral researcher in the Youth Mental Health Lab at University College, Dublin

    Mayra Almaraz

    Mayra Almaraz

    Social science curriculum specialist at the Chicago Public Schools, Teaching Tolerance award winning teacher

    Jan Mooney

    Jan Mooney

    Doctoral student in the Health Psychology Ph.D. Program at UNC Charlotte

    K.G. Smith

    K.G. Smith

    Healthcare administration graduate student at UNC Charlotte

    Tran Tran

    Tran Tran

    Doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology Department at UNC Charlotte

    Verenice Gomez-Trejo

    Verenice Gomez-Trejo

    Pre-med junior at the University of Chicago

    Be Real’s Bodykind Meets US Health Education Curriculum Standards

    National Standards

    The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) is an assessment tool to help school districts and schools analyze health education curriculum. The BodyKind curriculum meets HECAT Standard 2: Analyzing Influences.

    HECAT Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, and other factors on health behaviors. Grades 9–12 Skill Expectations:

            • Analyze how culture supports and challenges health beliefs, practices, and behaviors.
            • Analyze how peers and perceptions of norms, personal attitudes, values, and beliefs influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
            • Analyze how school and community affect personal health practices and behaviors.
            • Analyze the effect of media and technology on personal, family, and community health.
            • Differentiate the relevant influences, including family, culture, peers, school, community, media, technology, and public health policies, on personal health practices and behaviors.

        CDC’s School Health Guidelines: Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum Guideline 2: School environment: Establish school environments that support healthy eating and physical activity.

        Create a school environment that encourages a healthy body image, shape, and size diversity among all students and staff members; is accepting of diverse abilities; and does not tolerate weight‐based teasing.

    State Standards

    National Health Education Standards (NHES) were developed by the CDC with a team of experts to establish, promote, and support health-enhancing behaviors for students in all grade levels. NHES is an accepted reference on health education, providing a framework for the adoption of each state’s health education curriculum standards.

    NHES Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.

    “Our beliefs about bodies disproportionately impact those whose race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age deviate from our default notions. The further from the default, the greater the impact. We are all affected – but not equally.”

    ― Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

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