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You are reading an older version of this FlexBook® textbook: Human Biology Your Changing Body Teacher's Guide Go to the latest version.

Key Ideas

  • Cultural ideals of beauty (among other things) create a lot of stress for young adolescents whose bodies are rapidly changing.
  • Anorexia nervosa, which is characterized by excessive activity and excessive dieting, and bulimia, which is characterized by bingeing and purging, are common eating disorders mainly among women (although some adolescent boys can become obsessed with weight, as well).
  • Steroid abuse occurs more often with boys, but can happen among girls as well. As with eating disorders, it reflects poor self-esteem and an unhealthy obsession with body image.

Overview

This section expands on the concern adolescents often feel about body image. Students explore some of the negative ways in which teenagers try to change themselves to fit unrealistic ideals. Anorexia and bulimia are two of the eating disorders that are often associated with negative self-image, especially in girls. Although boys can be anorexic or bulimic, it is less common. Steroid abuse, on the other hand, is more common among boys than girls. All of these problems are dangerous and can create serious, sometimes deadly health problems. As a class, students develop a healthy and realistic definition of attractiveness that includes behavior and physical appearance.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark examine harmful ways of changing oneself, including anorexia, bulimia, and steroid use.

\checkmark define attractiveness as more than looks.

\checkmark recognize that being attractive and sexy are not the same.

Vocabulary

anabolic steroids, anorexia, bulimia

Student Materials

Activity 7-1: What Is Attractiveness?

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

Activity 7-1: What Is Attractiveness?

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Advance Preparation

See Activity 7-1 in the student edition.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Role-playing and discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Background Information

The issue of weight and body image must be placed in proper perspective. At its most general, most societies have loosely defined standards of physical attractiveness, of which body weight is an important component. (There is also some evidence that certain universal characteristics underlie sexual attractiveness. For example, in our culture, a waist to hip ratio of 7 to 10 is generally judged to be most attractive in women.)

Since we are all part of our culture, adherence to such standards is usually taken for granted (though one can always reject them too).

Within this broad group there are some that are especially preoccupied with their weight. These persons fall into a gray area in terms of the normality of their self-image. Also, there is a small group of lout of 100,000 persons who suffers from anorexia. Since the term anorexic has come to be so loosely used, it is important not to alarm students by suggesting that any preoccupation with the body (unnecessary as it may be) indicates a case of anorexia.

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Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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