Body Equity: Self-Esteem in the Balance

A healthy body image is an important element of mental and physical well-being. How we feel about our body and how we feel in our body impacts daily choices about how we eat, our sleep habits, self-care habits, relationships, sexuality, and even our ability to pursue interests or go to work or school. Yet, one’s body image is more than an individual experience. In 1996, educators Vanessa Russell and Carla Rice first wrote about the concept of "body equity” which placed our feelings and thoughts about our bodies within a cultural context that factors in race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, mental health and physical ability.

Our sense of our bodies and our sense of self-worth do not develop in isolation, outside the context of our life experiences. A framework of body equity encourages us to consider all factors and contexts that influence how a person feels about themselves.

We can all promote body equity by treating all people with dignity and respect regardless of their body size, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, skin colour or current level of physical or mental wellness. Promoting body equity includes speaking up and challenging assumptions that equate fatness or any other attribute with laziness, stupidity or moral inferiority.

For an exciting and rich learning opportunity, we invite you to attend the National Eating Disorder Information Centre's fourth biennial Body-Image and Self-Esteem Conference: Body Equity: Self-Esteem in the Balance

This conference is a unique opportunity in Canada to learn more about the current research, evidence-based practices and innovative outreach in a multi-disciplinary, action-oriented environment. Workshops are tailored to meet the needs of Educators, Health Professionals, Fitness or Recreation professionals as well as the general public.  Whether you work with children or adults there is something for everyone and the opportunity to nurture a more peaceful relationship with your own body at the same time.

For more information or to register, visit:


Lisa Naylor is a counsellor and group facilitator in the Provincial Eating Disorder Prevention and Recovery Program at Women's Health Clinic in Winnipeg, MB.  Lisa is also a member of the planning team for the 2015 NEDIC conference.