Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Body Image in Teens

Adolescence is a Time to Develop Healthy Body Image

Understanding Our Bodies

Our thoughts and feelings about our physical appearance begin to develop in childhood but become much more relevant during teen years:

  • Teens’ minds and bodies undergo many changes very quickly. Along the way, teens are developing their sense of self-identity and how they see themselves in the world.
  • Teens begin to have stronger values and opinions and to see themselves differently.

The Influence of Others

Teens often develop closer relationships with friends and romantic partners, which can affect how they see themselves. If the people in those relationships focus too much on appearance and weight, this can cause negative body image.

Teens often see and compare their appearance to the unrealistic images of celebrities on TV and the internet, which can make it difficult to have a positive, healthy body image.

Tips For Improving Body Image

  • Appreciate what your body can DO rather than focusing on how your body LOOKS!
  • Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from doing things that you enjoy!
  • Celebrate your qualities of having great character — being kind and genuine.
  • When you look in the mirror, focus on what you LIKE about yourself.
  • Make the choice to have a healthy lifestyle to keep your body healthy and to feel good.

You Can Find Support for Developing a Healthier Body Image From:

Still have questions? Come see us.

Our adolescent medicine team has special training to meet the unique needs of teens. We're here to help guide you and answer any questions you might have.

The information here is not intended to be nor should be used as a substitute for medical evaluation or treatment by a health care professional. This publication is for information purposes only and the reader assumes all associated risks.

Content experts: Jessica Reilly, M.D., and Jasmine Reese, M.D., M.P.H.

Additional References:

  1. Voelker DK, Reel JJ, Greenleaf C. Weight status and body image perceptions in adolescents: current perspectives. Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics. 2015;6:149.
  2. Markey CN. Why body image is important to adolescent development. J Youth Adolesc. 2010;39(12):1387–1391.
  3. Tiggemann M, Slater A. NetGirls: The Internet, Facebook, and body image concern in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2013 Sep;46(6):630-3.