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Three individuals running in a park setting

Researchers from our world-leading Department of Psychology have been awarded a c.€2.5m European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for an international body image research project.

The funding will support a multinational project to develop and trial a body image intervention programme across Latin America and Africa.

Body image dissatisfaction

Research indicates body dissatisfaction and related outcomes, such as eating disorders, are rapidly increasing in low- and middle-income countries. This is likely driven in part by increased exposure to media and the influences of globalised beauty ideals.

These changes are presenting growing risks across both Latin America and Africa. Countries such as Brazil and Colombia have the highest rates of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures in the world. Similarly, the World Health Organization has identified the high levels of skin bleaching across Africa as a public health problem.

The new research project, led by Professor Lynda Boothroyd, will run across six countries, in collaboration with local communities. It aims to provide new insights and guidance to help policymakers and educators develop body image resilience resources and proactive education programmes.

A toolkit for body image resilience

The funding will help deliver a body image intervention programme to boost understanding of body image resilience-building in economically and ethnically diverse regions.

The ambitious project will see collaboration with researchers at the University of Lincoln and in Nicaragua, Colombia and Zimbabwe, to provide an accessible online toolkit and cultural adaptation process guidance.

The research team hope to create new theory and practice in body image resilience and achieve positive impacts for individuals and communities across the globe.

Cutting-edge research

 The newly announced ERC Advanced Grants support cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from life sciences and physical sciences to social sciences and humanities.

The funding is amongst the EU’s most prestigious and competitive, providing leading senior researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs.

Find out more