Government- November 2013

Susie and I were busy in the month of September as we attended 3 government meetings on Body image.

On September 27, 2013 There was the Health Visitors and midwives steering group meeting organised by Tara Kauffman,  Head of Women’s Engagement. The aim of this meeting was to follow up from a series of meetings initiated by Susie Orbach around educating those professionals involved with mothers in the pregnacy/ prenatal and perinatal phases.


In December 2012  at a roundtable it was established that the first step would be to create interest amongst the health visiting and midwifery professions by beginning in a bottom up fashion through a time limited awareness-raising campaign. The ultimate goal is for a pilot program to be launched to train the health visitors and midwives around issues of initial mother child bonding. It was decided that the initial funding would go towards producing an academic paper under the leadership of Paula McGee, proving the need for such a program.  We left feeling more optimistic  than we had after after similar  meetings namely because “off the record” Susie was encouraged to continue to forcefully push her agenda which helps the ministers by giving them voice with which to go back to their superiors and request funding. Having Helen Reardon present for the first time was encouraging and gave us more confidence that this might actually happen.

The second meeting on body image was on September 30th, 2013 .  This  academic conference, attended by Jo Swinson MP, consisted of  various international professionals who presented their views and research findings on body image.  Susan Paxton from Melbourne, Australia discussed Prevention, Early intervention and treatment of Body image problems from a psychological perspective,  Dianne Neumark-Sztainer gave an American perspective on Body image as a public Health concern and Ben Barry from Toronto, discussed the current state of research from an Economic and Business perspective. While the research presented was not new for us, the fact that Jo Swinson stayed for the whole meeting to see  that there is plenty of research to substantiate the need for government  backing on current Body image campaigns was important


The third meeting was Jo Swinson’s  expert advisory group on Body image.  In attendance was Kathryn Jacob, CEO of Pearl and Dean , Girl guides, All Walks beyond the catwalk, and Beat, amongst several others. The meeting consisted of everyone sharing what they were doing around Body image.  I was struck by how many groups were doing a similar thing to SYC and proposed that we join forces to present a solid program.  Kathryn Jacob explained their latest breakthrough in the advertising indusrty was that they have instituted a foundation course which must be taken by all members working in advertising, a kind of “All walks” for the advertising sector. We later broke out into groups to discuss ways to get more industry involved to support the campaign.  Jo Swinson suggested that more men needed to be involved and as another idea, that perhaps humour might be a way of getting the message across in a less forceful way. There was no discussion of follow up meeting.  A date for The central YMCA meeting has still not been established.