New program for early childhood to bead body image issues
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Body Blocks by Embrace Kids offers new hope for preventing body image issues

Body Blocks by Embrace Kids offers new hope for preventing body image issues

by Freya Lucas

November 07, 2023

A groundbreaking new program for early childhood educators aims to prevent body image issues later in life by ‘getting in early’ with messages of body appreciation for young people.


The program, Body Blocks by Embrace Kids, is the latest initiative from The Embrace Collective, the health promotion charity run by 2023 Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt and international body image expert Dr Zali Yager.


Body Blocks is the world’s first freely available body image program specifically designed to support early childhood educators to empower young children to develop positive relationships with their bodies, food and movement, right from the very beginning of their lives.


The program draws on evidence-based practices and expert input to address the unique needs of children aged birth to eight years of age. Early childhood educators will be provided with seven professional development modules and a range of activities and resources to use in their centres, including the Embrace Your Body picture book and song by Ms Brumfitt.


“Body image is so often assumed to be an issue that only affects adolescents, but it’s impacting our children at a younger and younger age,” said Ms Brumfitt. “We know that childhood is a critical period for shaping attitudes and behaviours, so we need to get in early and help them build the foundations for a lifelong positive relationship with their bodies.”


Research has shown that children aged three to five years of age have already developed negative attitudes towards larger bodies, and there is evidence that children become dissatisfied with their own bodies in the same age window. 


This, the Embrace Collective says, is concerning given that children who have internalised these ideas at this early age may be more likely to engage in disordered eating or have mental health concerns later in life.


“For this age group, it’s not about sitting them down for a lesson about body image,” Dr Yager explained. 


“It’s about how we as the adults around them talk about food and movement and bodies – kids are little sponges who absorb everything around them.”


The program was developed by paediatric dietitian Dr Lyza Norton and a team of body image experts based on the latest research, including the research that informed the Confident Body, Confident Child program led by Dr Laura Hart from The University of Melbourne.


Body Blocks by Embrace Kids is one of nine initiatives funded by the Albanese Government as part of the Embrace Kids Australia package, which aims to prevent body image issues and eating disorders by improving protective factors and reducing risk factors in all the environments where young people live, learn and play.


Early childhood educators can sign up to have Body Blocks by Embrace Kids delivered straight to their inbox here. 

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