Chapter 5: Body Image | Reading and Writing Practice

Read the passage below and then answer the following questions.

Another factor that can influence a person’s body image is involvement in particular sports and activities. Teenagers who are involved in sports that place importance on being thin are at greater risk of developing a poor body image. Dancers, gymnasts, and ice skaters often face pressure to be thin because certain moves are easier to perform at lighter weights. Athletes’ appearance can also influence how their performance is evaluated by judges. Athletes who participate in these activities may feel particular pressure from coaches and even parents to maintain a thin body. People who participate in these activities are also more likely to compare themselves to others who are very thin.

In contrast, teenagers who participate in sports that do not emphasize thinness—such as softball, basketball, and soccer—feel less pressure to be thin. These teenagers are able to develop a more positive body image. Participation in sports such as these allows teenagers to learn new skills, experience the health and fitness benefits of regular exercise, and develop close friendships with teammates. People who participate in these sports also feel good about what their bodies are capable of doing—hitting a home run, scoring a goal, or making a basket.


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