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Monday 02 March 2015 | 6°

BBC Report: Role Models

School Reporters around the UK are busy reporting on School Report's third Practice News Day of 2012-2013 as they build up towards this year's News Day on 21 March.

The BBC School Report Club for Strood Academy have been busy today researching about role models and their influence on people’s appearance. Appearance and health is always a hot topic during the month of January when people have either over indulged or are making resolutions to live healthier. The students really enjoyed tackling the subject, rose to the challenge of meeting their 2pm deadline and successfully completed their report on time:

With everybody conscious of how much weight they’ve put on over Christmas, the BBC School Report Club are focusing on the importance of role models and their influence on us as students regarding appearance. We designed a questionnaire to survey students and staff. Just over a third of students and teachers said that their parents were their role models, particularly their mums. However, 68% of those asked said that celebrities were their role models. Reassuringly though, only 19% chose their role models for their appearance. Even more encouragingly, 27% respected their role models for their talent and 54% idolised their role models for their personality. Of the celebrities that were named by the pupils, Jessie J was the most popular and the majority of celebrities that were named were, in fact, sport stars, musicians and actors. Refreshingly only two celebrities that were named in the survey were famed for their looks or bodies as models.

More good news could be found in the results of the survey question: “If you had to modify your body what would you change?” The majority of students stated that they would want to change their height. Obviously Mother Nature should take care of this naturally for the majority of students. 30% of students said weight was a cause for concern; this was mostly Year 11’s and reflected the findings found in an American study which found that 53% of thirteen year old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. It then extends to 78% when the girls reach seventeen. We discovered that more than 40 billion dollars a year is spent on dieting and diet-related products in the US - that’s roughly the equivalent to the amount that the U.S government spends on education each year. Interestingly, 20 years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today they weigh 23 % less than the average woman. This is putting women under a lot of pressure when it comes to weight. Also, the height of an average American woman is 5’4” tall, and the average model is 5’11”, so maybe this is why many students surveyed wanted to change their heights.

Instead of people aspiring to look like Katie Price, we think Beyoncé is the perfect role model for a dream body. She hasn’t had any plastic surgery and has a curvy shaped body. She shows you don’t have to be a size 0 to look beautiful. Katie Price has Botox every four months although she says, “I’m not wrinkly anyway, so I probably don’t even need it. I only do it because everyone else has it done. Botox isn’t a big deal for me: it’s like going shopping.” This may be one of the reasons why nobody gave her name as their role model. However, when asked whether celebrities influence the way that students look or feel, over 60% said no. This is brilliant and has probably been influenced by the things we have been learning through the SUMO programme during form time. The programme teaches students how to take responsibility for their own actions and feel empowered to become the ‘driver’ of their lives rather than a passenger.

We’ve really enjoyed researching this subject and have found it really interesting. Amongst all our research we discovered a strange fact for any females who plan a life of crime: male jurors have been found to be more likely to convict overweight female defendants than lean ones according to research carried out in Australia.

Strange, but true!

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