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Body Confident Schools: Becoming Body Kind From the Start
PRESENTER: Denise Hamburger, JD, Founder & Executive Director of BE REAL
DESCRIPTION: Today’s explosion of visual social media use - like Instagram and TikTok - has created an epidemic of body image problems for young people. Research ties body dissatisfaction to a host of
adolescent mental health problems from eating disorders, to depression and isolation, to suicidal
ideation. Young people who don't like their bodies suffer from low self- esteem and are more likely to
abuse drugs and alcohol, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated these mental health issues for young
people who have spent more time alone and on social media. Be Real’s evidenced-based Body
Confident Schools & BodyKind Curriculum discusses adolescents’ body image in 2022 and provides
steps that schools and practitioners can take to create a body confident environment for students & patients alike.
1. Discuss body image & adolescents in today's world.
2. Distinguish how one’s own values and attitudes affect children’s body image.
3. Identify the steps to create a Body Confident School environment.
4. Evaluate the application of CFT & CBT in the BE REAL BodyKind curriculum.

Meet the Speaker
denise Hamburger

Founder and Director of BE REAL. USA,

a nonprofit that envisions a world where each and every student can grow up with a healthy relationship to food and their body
Denise Headshot.jpg

Denise Hamburger, J.D., is the founder and executive director of BE REAL USA, a nonprofit that envisions a world where each and every student can grow up with a healthy relationship to food and their body. In 2019, Denise created a professional development workshop for teachers called Body Confident Schools and has delivered this training to over 1500 US teachers. She has spoken at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Amazon, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School and was an environmental attorney in her first career. She co-wrote the legal treatise Pollution in the United Kingdom. She has spent the last 25 years involved in education nonprofits, including Chicago’s After School Matters.

denise's NPO BE REAL. is changing a culture that isn’t working for any body

BE REAL is a grassroots movement linking caring people in local communities, business, and government with organized opportunities to change a culture that isn’t working for anybody’s body image in today’s world.

We live in a time and place obsessed with appearance. Today’s social media — where so many kids edit and curate their own images — has created a culture where 70% of adolescent girls and 45% of adolescent boys don’t feel comfortable in their own skin.


Our children feel flawed in comparison to the perfect images they see on Instagram and other visual social media. Kids’ body dissatisfaction contributes to serious mental health problems: eating disorders, depression, isolation, anxiety, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and low self-esteem.

Our children’s focus on their bodies — how they appear to others, what measurements they need to meet, and what to feed them — has become an overwhelming distraction in their lives. It steals their time and energy because they spend so much of that time and energy focused on how they look. What could they do or how could they grow with all that time back? Research shows that children who grow up body confident have better physical and mental health, perform better in and out of school and are more likely to fulfill their unique potential.

During her keynote, Denise will discuss the success she has experienced with her Body Confident Schools workshop, her newest evidence-based curriculum BodyKind, and how we can all become advocates for body kindness in a world that is ready for the dialogue to change!

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