No Body's Perfect: A helper's guide to promoting positive body image in children and young people

Dr Vivienne Lewis

Body image doesn't discriminate gender or age. Yet its importance to our health, both mental and physical, is vital. A negative body image in childhood can lead to a lifetime of struggle and self-doubt.

In today's image-conscious world it is important that we help children and youngsters feel better about their bodies. No Body's Perfect is designed to do just that. Written for teachers, counsellors, parents, and carers it promotes positive body image and good mental health using easy to implement evidence-based strategies.

It is appropriate for use with children aged six years and up and features stories and examples from children, young people, parents and teachers of both genders, different cultural backgrounds, and a range of ages to help inspire and engage.
Recommendations are also made for teachers to foster healthy body image and well-being at the school, class and student level. Topics covered include:


  • how to be a positive role model to others,
  • how to handle teasing and body bashing,
  • the dangers of dieting,
  • how to be media literate,
  • why and where to go to for help.

Download 28 printable PDF student handouts
for classroom use for $9.00

These worksheets are for use in the classroom and home environment as well for adult helpers working on their own body image and mental health. The worksheets for adults aim to assist them to work on their own body image and mental health in order to be able to better help children and young people. 

It is recommended that, at a minimum, you read the whole chapter related to the worksheet, for background, before engaging in the activity.

See also by this author

About the Author

Dr Vivienne Lewis is a clinical psychologist and body image expert with over 15 years experience as a researcher and clinician. She specialises in working with children, young people and adults with body image issues and eating disorders and has seen her clients improve their lives through using the strategies in this book. Dr Lewis has also consulted with many schools to assist in their promotion of a body image friendly environment for not just children and young people but also for teaching staff. This is her second book. She published ‘Positive Bodies: Loving The Skin You’re In’, a self-help book for adults and young people of both genders struggling with body image issues. At the University of Canberra she has run and researched a positive body image group program for women as well as training Clinical Masters of Psychology students in how to work with people with body image issues and eating disorders. She presents her research and clinical work at international conferences and is a regular speaker for media informing the public about psychological science in an easy to understand manner. Dr Lewis is significantly involved with the Australian Psychological Society and runs the ACT Mental Health Professionals network special interest group on eating disorders. She is passionate about her work, celebrating body diversity and acceptance and practices clinically in Canberra, Australia. 


Dissatisfaction with appearance results in a range of negative impacts on psychological and physical health. Appearance-related concerns affect a significant majority of young people and over 80% of adults. The need to prevent or ameliorate these impacts has recently been described by MPs in the UK as one of the most pressing social issues of our time and calls have been made for evidence based strategies to tackle the situation. In No Body's Perfect Dr. Lewis does just this, offering techniques informed by research and clinical practice for use by parents, teachers and others concerned about appearance-related dissatisfaction and distress in children and young people. Practical suggestions for activities and classroom exercises mingle with the voices of young people and parents whose lives have been affected. Guidance includes advice for adults about how to moderate the key factors influencing appearance dissatisfaction, including how adults can be effective role models, how to help young people deal with appearance-related teasing, how to improve their media literacy & suggestions on how to regulate the use of social media. Helpfully, the book addresses the current gap in the literature on body image in boys with the inclusion of a chapter focussing on how to talk about and address body image in boys. This book addresses a key issue for young people in a timely, practical and accessible way.
Professor Nichola Rumsey, Co-Director, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

"No Body's Perfect is a powerful tool for parents and teachers who seek to understand the complexity of body image and help young people celebrate all their body does for them. The book is full of practical activities to help young people understand body image and develop a healthy scepticism for striving for a certain physical 'ideal'. The book is also a wake-call for adults everywhere that the way we talk about and feel about our own bodies has the power to shape the next generation's body image. Dr Lewis's book is a call-to-action for teachers and parents to lead by example and teach the next generation to love the skin they're in."
Kimberly Gillan, health journalist / Coach health writer

"Over the last decade I have seen enormous cultural and technological pressures continue to impact boys and young men in the areas of identity and body image. When boys and men struggle and are not helped to accept and value themselves they quickly look to external and often damaging stereotypes. Vivienne Lewis offers solid, practical and much needed guidance for parents, health workers, policy makers and educators in this important space. She gives us long overdue permission to help boys and men begin a constructive dialogue about body image from which we will all benefit."
Jonathan E Doyle B.Ed (Sec Spec) MLMEd, Director of Choicez MEdia, International Speaker, Author and Educator.

Table of Contents

  • About this book
  • Chapter 1. What's all the fuss about body image?
  • Chapter 2. Understanding your own body image and self-help so you can help others.
  • Chapter 3. The essentials of positive role modelling.
  • Chapter 4. Boys to Men - Talking to Boys about body image.
  • Chapter 5. Media literacy - Talking to kids about media messages and safe use.
  • Chapter 6. Puberty explained - Help, my body is changing.
  • Chapter 7. Teasing and Body bashing - It's not okay.
  • Chapter 8. Eating Disorders - What are they and how to talk about them.
  • Chapter 9. What's mental health and how to I get some of that?
  • Chapter 10. Relaxation and fostering positive emotions in yourself and others.
  • Chapter 11. Concluding comments and guidelines for creating body image friendly schools.
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix A Resources for children, young people and parents across the globe