The Embrace Collective, a health promotion charity led by Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt and body image expert Dr Zali Yager, welcomes today’s announcement of Albanese Government funding for their Embrace Kids program to combat body image issues and eating disorders.
The funding highlights the growing recognition of the urgent need to address the pervasive issues of body image distress and eating disorders that affect hundreds of thousands of Australian young people.
More than 3 in 4 young people in Australia report body image distress, which puts them at a much greater risk of developing mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as well as eating disorders.
“This is a national crisis, and we are incredibly grateful that the Prime Minister and Health Minister Mark Butler listened and understood the gravity of the situation,” said Ms Brumfitt.
“This is a huge milestone in our collective mission to eradicate body image issues and eating disorders, and we are honoured to be part of the movement for real, meaningful change.”
The $6.2 million funding package will be used to support nine key initiatives, with the aim of reaching more than 1 million Australian children aged 0-18. These initiatives will be embedded across all the settings where children live, learn and play – school, home, sport and community groups. They include classroom programs, films, books, live youth events, online professional development and public health awareness campaigns.
“These resources have been in development for years, grounded in extensive research into what works and what doesn’t,” said Dr Yager. “Thanks to this funding, we can really amplify these efforts and get the resources and support out to the people who need them.”
Ms Brumfitt and Dr Yager’s organisation, The Embrace Collective, brings together a global network of experts, advocates, leaders, young people, creatives and communities to guide the evolution of the body image movement into the next decade.
It builds on decades of work in this space, using a science-backed, creativity-led approach to improve body appreciation, reduce weight stigma and minimise risk factors for developing eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
Educators and parents who would like to support the young people in their lives can join the EK Support Squad to receive access to body image programs and resources, as well as regular tips and advice from our experts.
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- Those with body dissatisfaction are 24x more likely to develop depression and anxiety (McLean et al., 2021; Bornioli et al., 2021).
- 22% of adolescents are affected by eating disorders (Mitchison et al., 2020).
- 77% of young Australian adults report body image distress, a 33% increase from 2009 figures (Milton et al., 2021).
ABOUT THE EMBRACE COLLECTIVE
The Embrace Collective has a vision for a world where young people are empowered to grow and thrive, free from feelings of judgement and shame about their bodies. Through our suite of age-appropriate programs and resources, we can get in early to teach the message of body appreciation to young people; and educate their parents, educators and coaches to embed these positive messages in the environments where young people live, learn and play to minimise their lifetime risk of issues like eating disorders, depression and anxiety. Find out more: theembracecollective.org
ABOUT TARYN BRUMFITT
Taryn Brumfitt is an award-winning filmmaker, bestselling author and internationally sought-after keynote speaker. She is the co-Executive Director of The Embrace Collective and director of the inspiring documentaries EMBRACE and EMBRACE KIDS. Recently named Australian of the Year 2023, Taryn is a fiercely passionate advocate for social change and her message has reached more than 200 million people around the world.
ABOUT DR ZALI YAGER
Dr Zali Yager is an internationally-recognised body image expert who has worked in research and academia for nearly 20 years. She is the co-Executive Director of The Embrace Collective and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University. Zali co-authored the Embrace Kids book with Taryn Brumfitt and was the body image expert advisor on the EMBRACE KIDS film.
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