Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Why are self-esteem and body image important?

Being a teenager that has struggled with self-esteem, I think it is very important to educate people about children's(particularly girl's) self-esteem. Here are some facts about self-esteem and what poor self-esteem can do to young girls.

Self-esteem is related to how we feel about ourselves: it's not just how we look but how we feel about how we look. And it's not just how successful or smart others say we are, but how confident we feel about our talents and abilities. Consider the following in order to understand the internal and external pressures girls feel and how these pressures affect the development of their self-esteem:

  • Eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression are the most common mental health problems in girls.

  • 59% of 5–12th grade girls in one survey were dissatisfied with their body shape.

  • 20–40% of girls begin dieting at age 10.

  • By 15, girls are twice as likely to become depressed than boys.

  • Among 5–12th graders, 47% said they wanted to lose weight because of magazine pictures.

  • Health risks accompany girls' drop in self-esteem due to risky eating habits, depression, and unwanted pregnancy.

  • Girls aged 10 and 12 (tweens) are confronted with "teen" issues such as dating and sex, at increasingly earlier ages. 73% of 8–12–year olds dress like teens and talk like teens.

When and why does girls' self-esteem drop?

  • Starting in the pre-teen years, there is a shift in focus; the body becomes an all consuming passion and barometer of worth.

  • Self-esteem becomes too closely tied to physical attributes; girls feel they can't measure up to society standards.

  • Between 5th and 9th grade, gifted girls, perceiving that smarts aren't sexy, hide their accomplishments.

  • Teenage girls encounter more "stressors" in life, especially in their personal relationships, and react more strongly than boys to these pressures, which accounts in part for the higher levels of depression in girls.

  • The media, including television, movies, videos, lyrics, magazine, internet, and advertisements, portray images of girls and women in a sexual manner—revealing clothing, body posture and facial expressions—as models of femininity for girls to emulate.

World Vision and My Sponsor Child

My family and I sponsor a small boy from Mutomo, Kenya through World Vision. We send him $35 a month to help him, his family, and community. We have recently received a progress report for Mutomo.

This is what the letter says:

Mutomo community accomplishments

Thank you for your faithful support. With help from donors like you, World Vision was able to accomplish the following in 2008:

Birthday Celebration:

Honored 1,671 children with birthday parties, distributing school bags and helping to build self-esteem.


  • Educated 38 church leaders on Channels of Hope, empowering them to take an active role in HIV and AIDS interventions.

  • Instructed 20 teachers on life skills, enabling them to provide their students with tools to face life's challenges.

  • Trained 40 home-based caregivers and supplied them with kits to provide care and support to the chronically ill.

  • Trained 40 community health workers on safe motherhood and the prevention of HIV transmissions from mother to child.

Water and Sanitation:

  • Provided 11 water tanks to schools, increasing access to safe water.

  • Offered training to 50 households on sanitation and hygiene management, improving their health.

I am so excited about the progress my sponsor child's community is making!! If you want to sponsor a child through World Vision, visit I am so glad i did!