ONE in five Scottish young people say they have felt ashamed of their body image and the way they look.

The poll carried out by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland examined the impact of body image issues on mental health.

Nearly 400 young people aged between 10 and 19 were part of the study which is this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.

Of the hundreds of youths, a third said they felt worried by their body image, and over a quarter admitted to being upset over how their appearance.

The report has also revealed the impact that the negative feeling on image can have on a young person’s life.

It found that one in seven young people stopped eating or restricted their diet to try and feel better about their body image.

The study also discovered that one in ten admitted that their body image had prevented them from going to school or college, and over a quarter said it had stopped them from participating in sports.

The Scottish Government has announced a new expert group that will develop a Charter on Healthy Body Image for young people.

They will look to develop options for how professionals can offer support for young people, including in schools.

The new remit will be announced today by Mental Minister Clare Haughey.

Julie Cameron, Head of Programmes at Mental Health Foundation Scotland said: “Our poll has uncovered that hundreds of thousands of young people across Scotland are struggling with concerns about their body image.

“Worries about body image can lead to mental health problems and in some instances are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

“It is also clear from the survey that teenagers are identifying images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about their body image. Conversations with friends also have a major role in causing young people to worry.”

The Mental Health Foundation have also called on social media to take more “practical steps” and that positive conversations around body image should start at home.

Julie added: “Action starts in our families and homes with how we talk about our bodies and eating, but we also need more regulation of advertising which promotes idealised and unattainable body images.

“Social media companies should urgently up their game in taking practical steps to ensure that the content they promote does not exacerbate body-image concerns.”