Body Project Canada

Why Should You Be Concerned About Eating Disorders?

  • Approximately 9100 people in Newfoundland and Labrador experience some form of disordered eating or are at risk of an eating disorder
  • 10-15% of adolescents are affected (ages 13-22)
  • Admissions at the Janeway for eating disorders increased by 38% for the past year for inpatient/outpatient treatment
  • Over the past decade there have been 266 inpatient hospital admissions of youth
  • Mortality rate can be as high as 20% if not treated early

 Why is Prevention Important in Newfoundland and Labrador High Schools?

  • In past 5 years dozens of calls from Newfoundland and Labrador schools into Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Schools requesting presentations around prevention of eating disorders and body image for students
  • Currently Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador conducts presentations to staff, no prevention work with students
  • In the past 2 years there were three round table discussions led by Department Health that included 2 representatives from the NLESD
  • A primary goal that came from the round table was the need for an eating disorder prevention program in Newfoundland and Labrador School

Prevention Program – “Body Project Canada”

  •  Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador launched a prevention program for YOUNG WOMEN
  • Best researched Eating Disorder prevention program in North America
  • The Body Project is the result of a 16-year program of research on the risk factors for eating disorders
  • Research completed at the University and High School level
  • Supported by more research than any other body image program and has been found to reduce onset of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction and other mental health concerns

Body Project Preventative for Related Problems

Eating Disorders:

  • Many patients do not recover even with the best treatments available; or never enter treatment
  • Weight/shape concerns consistently identified as predictive risk factor for at least some eating disorders

Overall Mental Health Improvement:

  • Body Project Canada has been shown to improve the overall quality of mental health for young woman in areas such as body image, depression, anxiety

Body Image Dissatisfaction:

  • A significant problem for high % of females and can be a factor in other mental illnesses
  • Research has shown how body dissatisfaction impairs academic achievement

Program Overview

  • The intervention consists of verbal, written, and behavioural exercises in which participants voluntarily critique the appearance ideal promoted for females.
  • These activities have been shown to result in decreased subscription to the “appearance ideal” and consequent reductions in body dissatisfaction, negative mood, dieting, and eating disorder symptoms.
  • Also a decreased risk for future eating disorders and improved psychosocial functioning when delivered by trained professionals.
  • Currently implemented worldwide and is supported by a global community of researchers, clinicians, stakeholder organizations and body image activists
  • Program is a small group intervention, minimum of six and maximum of thirteen
  • 4 consecutive weeks of 1 hour sessions; or 6 consecutive weeks of 45 minute sessions
  • Could be facilitated after school/lunch time or “pull outs” during class time; or with community groups such as Pathfinders/Rangers
  • Designed for female attendees only at this time

Comments from past participants

“Thank you for visiting Gander again! Exceeded my expectations and I will be sure to spread the word”

“Excellent workshop! Very organized. The day flow was great, comfortable setting among group members. I will be encouraging others to attend!”

“Great workshop! Certainly challenges us to think differently. Hoping to empower young woman”

“Well organized. So excited about rolling this out in our area. Good opportunity for self-reflection”

“Leaving with the tools to facilitate on our own. Love having the binder resource. Self-reflection, realizing some things we can do differently day to day, not just in leading sessions”

The Body Project Canada Debuts at Valmont Academy
submitted by Christina Pelley

The other day, a dear friend e-mailed me a photo. It was a picture of me holding my eight-year-old daughter in my arms as we danced at a wedding this past July. I was wearing a sleeveless dress and for the briefest of moments, the “old” me started a commentary: “Awww, if only we could shave a little off the back of that arm showing there…”  Luckily the “new” me butted in with, “You don’t talk about yourself that way any longer, remember? Look at how happy you both are with your smiling faces and
how lucky that your arms are strong enough to still carry her so you can dance cheek to cheek.” You see, the old me has been around forever and still sneaks a few digs in there but the new me is growing stronger and packs a punch whenever there’s an attack. (Everyone has these voices in their heads right? Right??) At the end of summer this year, I experienced a powerful shift in how I saw myself and other women and the harm we have been conditioned to impose upon ourselves. It came about while attending a training program at the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (EDFNL) that I had hoped might benefit my students.
The Body Project is a dissonance-based body-acceptance program designed to help high school girls and college-age women resist cultural pressures to conform to the appearance ideal standard of female beauty and reduce their pursuit of unrealistic bodies. The Body Project is supported by more research than any other body image program and has been found to reduce the onset of eating disorders.
The Body Project Collaborative was formed in 2012 by Drs. Eric Stice and Carolyn Becker to create new training opportunities
for people interested in facilitating the Body Project. Already operative in the U.S. and the U.K., St. John’s, NL became the
launch pad for facilitator training in Canada. On August 31st, 15 professionals (primarily school counsellors and educational
psychologists) from across the province met at the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Headquarters in St.John’s to participate in two intensive days of training with the goal of implementing the Body Project in our province’s high schools. To learn the program, we took turns going through it as both participants and facilitators. In this way, we came to recognize our own acceptance of, and contribution to, the appearance ideal –thus truly experiencing first-hand, the impact of the Body Project.
We attended this training with our students’ well-being in mind, but I believe we all left with significant changes in perception and
much personal growth. At the end of day two, as we were saying our good-byes, EDFNL’s Program and Outreach Coordinator
Patricia Nash took my hand in both of hers and sincerely thanked me for coming all the way from Springdale during the last days
of summer vacation to help them disseminate the Body Project. However, it was I who was most grateful for what was given me –
not only a fabulous tool to use at work but a chance for my own, long overdue, internal makeover.
Two weeks ago, I began facilitating my first high school Body Project group – the first in Canada to my knowledge – at Valmont
Academy in King’s Point. This is a wonderful, small K-12 school with 88 students and the level II and III girls in the group were
eager to begin and very pleased to have access to the experience. They are full of opinions, ideas, humour, generosity and mutual respect and I couldn’t ask to be in better company. I look at them in awe of how intrinsically beautiful they are, and then feel sadness for the incessant messages they receive telling them all the ways they do not measure up to an unachievable standard. In a job where it seems we are so often reacting to crisis, I am thrilled to be offering proactive programming and am confident that this work will improve the mental health outlook of students. It is my hope that the Body Project, and the empowerment it ignites, can reach girls in all our province’s schools.
A heartfelt ‘THANK YOU!’ goes out to the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador for seeking out
this powerful training, bringing the trainer to our province and providing the training and materials to us free of charge!

We are delighted to have the support of the NLCPA and dedicated School Counsellors such as Christina as we start the long journey towards creating a culture of preventing eating disorders, rather than our current focus on treatment. (Paul Thomey, Executive Director, Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.) 

December 2016 Newsletter found at



The goal of Body Project Canada is to address the mental health concerns of young women ages 14 – 18 with a prevention program that will reduce body dissatisfaction and the risk of eating disorders.

Training is open to female guidance counsellors/educators/health professionals/community leaders that work with young women ages 14 -18 years.

To register or for further information please contact
Cathy Skinner at  or 709-722-0500