In the new millennium, with the popular media, cinema and social media constantly celebrating perfect physical perfection — size zero, flat abs, thin waists, toned arms, flawless complexions, etc — there’s tremendous social and peer pressure on youth and adolescents in particular, to aspire to super bod ideals. Little wonder that the cosmetics industry is the only recession-proof business in the world impervious to economic ups and downturns with a global revenue of $532.43 billion (Rs.35,75,001 crore) in 2017, and expected to rise to $805.61 billion by 2023.
In the quest for physical perfection, a multiplying number of adolescents are resorting to extreme dieting and punishing exercise routines with adverse physical and psychological consequences. For children, adolescence is a time of intense physical, psychological and emotional changes — a period when they are susceptible to negative body image neuroses which prompt depression, anxiety, anger, and self-loathing, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorders and exercise addiction.
In our cover story, we beam a spotlight on this very important issue of body image obsession which is gripping Indian teens. Nutritionists, counselors and child psychologists interviewed for this story are unanimous that parents should be the first line of support for teens struggling with body image issues. From providing balanced diets, reducing exposure to media which send wrong messages about improbable body types, to monitoring and restricting social media activity, supporting the idea of fitness and well-being rather than weight loss/gain, the role of parents is pivotal in teaching and enabling teens to avoid the super bod trap.
Moreover in this issue apart from our regular columns, we present highlights of the EW India Higher Education Rankings 2018-19. EducationWorld (an affiliate of ParentsWorld) conducted its annual higher ed institutions rankings exercise in partnership with the highly-reputed Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company, Centre for Forecasting and Research (C fore), to rate and rank the country’s Top 100 private universities and engineering institutes, and multi-disciplinary arts, science and commerce colleges on several parameters of excellence. These league tables will enable parents to identity and shortlist the most suitable higher education institutions for their children.