Latest news | 14 Sep 2022

Australia’s first Body Kind Youth Survey launched today


Butterfly launches national annual Butterfly Body Kind Youth Survey – targeting young people to better understand body image issues as one of the biggest risk factors to developing an eating disorder.

This September, Butterfly is partnering with  nib foundation to deliver Australia’s first ever body image specific youth survey, the Butterfly Body Kind Youth Survey, to better understand body image in Australian young people aged 12-18.

From the first of what is intended to be an annual survey, findings will create an ongoing dataset to highlight the current and changing prevalence of body image concerns and related issues for Australia’s youth. In the longer term, findings will provide key insights for researchers, policy makers and education, youth, and mental health service providers.

According to the Mission Australia Youth Survey, body image is consistently ranked within the top 3-5 personal concerns of young people aged 15-19. In 2021, 33 per cent of those surveyed were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned about body image.

The Butterfly Body Kind Survey will provide much needed insights into why this is consistently a concern, considering young people’s actual experience and level of body image issues, as well as insights into how to address these.

“There is a real research gap in understanding body image issues for young Australians, which the Body Kind Youth Survey will go some way to filling,” said Butterfly CEO, Kevin Barrow. “Body image issues are one of the big risk factors to developing an eating disorder, and Butterfly is prioritising our efforts to prevent them from developing by focusing on young people.

We will use findings in this first year to inform Butterfly priorities, to further develop our prevention programs and resources and, over time, help us to identify what impacts these prevention efforts are having.”

“These findings will also be a catalyst for our advocacy work, calling for a National Inquiry into Body Image and greater support for prevention and early intervention work and resourcing to address the increasing issues of body dissatisfaction, disordered eating and eating disorders in young Australians,” he said.

The ages between 12-18 are a fundamental time to build young people’s perceptions of their body and to implement body kind habits. The survey will seek to understand the prevalence of body satisfaction/dissatisfaction in this age group, as well as the key influences – including the role of social media, body comparisons and appearance focused bullying and teasing.

Additional questions will relate to how body image impacts young people’s lives, the ways in which young people support their own body image and how and the ways in which they are kind to their bodies, and the types of information and resources that would be helpful for young people.

“We are proud to support Australia’s first-ever survey into body image issues for young people through our partnership with Butterfly Foundation and the launch of the Body Kind Youth Survey,” said nib foundation Executive Officer Amy Tribe.

Last year, eating disorders were the most claimed mental health admission for members under 20 years of age, with more than double the number of members claiming compared to 2019. And for those aged 39 or younger, we saw a 35% increase in claims paid for these types of admissions, representing $2.7 million.[1]

The Body Kind Youth survey will help establish a benchmark to assess the long-term trends in body image in Australia’s youth. Over time, it will provide greater insights and allow the development of better prevention and support programs,” Mrs Tribe said.

The project is part of Butterfly’s Body Kind initiative designed to create environments (schools, families, sporting clubs, online), that support body image in young Australians.

About the survey

Butterfly Foundation is inviting all young people aged 12-18 to have their voices heard about body image. This is a chance to complete the first national survey on body image, the Body Kind Youth Survey, so Butterfly can better understand the body image experiences of young Australians, get young peoples’ views on what needs to change to create a more Body Kind Australia.   The online survey is voluntary, anonymous, has ethics approval, takes 15 minutes, and requires parental consent for under 15s. There is also a draw to win one of twenty gift vouchers.

For further information and to access the survey visit –

To access the survey go to or scan the barcode below.


Media Contact

Melissa Wilton, Head of Comms & Engagement                    Emma Bedson, Edelman for Butterfly Foundation                                         

0402 259 652                                                                           0432 904 035


Rose Dougherty, nib Group Communications Manager

0432 921 745


Editor and producers note: Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders. Please include the following helpline message.

Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14


[1] nib claims data retrieved from Calendar Year 2021. Includes Australian Residents Health Insurance members only, including whitelabel partners and excluding GU Health.