30% of women would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal body weight and shape

Issue date: 31 March 2011


Latest research conducted for new eating disorder charity The Succeed Foundation, in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE), has found that 30% of women would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal body weight and shape.

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs from the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, said, ''The survey took place on university campuses around the UK. The findings highlight that body image is an issue for all women and not just adolescent girls as is often thought.

“The other really important finding is that the majority of women surveyed said that more needs to be done to promote positive body image on their university campuses.

“In response to this, this weekend the Succeed Foundation in collaboration with the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, is launching ‘The Succeed Body Image Programme’. The programme is  based on over eight years of scientific research. This research  has shown that similar programmes overseas are effective in reducing the onset of eating disorders and in promoting positive body image among women at university.

“The Succeed Body Image Programme is designed by experts, but will be run on university campuses throughout the UK by the students themselves. It's an extremely exciting programme that has amazing potential to improve the health of British women.”

The research has also found that in order to achieve their ideal body weight and shape:

  •        16% would trade 1 year of their life
  •        10% would trade 2-5 years of their life
  •        2% would trade 6-10 years of their life
  •        1% would trade 21 years or more of their life

The survey conducted at British Universities by Dr Diedrichs also discovered that in order to achieve their ideal body weight and shape, 26% of the women surveyed were willing to sacrifice at least one of the following:

  •         £5000 from their annual salary (13%)
  •         A promotion at work (8%)
  •         Achieving a first class honours degree (6%)
  •         Spending time with their partner (9%)
  •         Spending time with their family (7%)
  •         Spending time with their friends (9%)
  •         Their health (7%)

The survey results suggest that body dissatisfaction was common among the women surveyed, with 1 in 2 women saying that more needs to be done on their university campus to promote healthy body image.

  •         46% of the women surveyed have been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.
  •         39% of the women surveyed reported that if money wasn’t a concern they would have cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance. Of the 39% who said they would have cosmetic surgery, 76% desired multiple surgical procedures. 5% of the women surveyed have already had cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance.
  •         79% of the women surveyed reported that they would like to lose weight, despite the fact that the majority of the women sampled (78.37%) were actually within the underweight or ‘normal’ weight ranges. Only 3% said that they would like to gain weight.
  •         93% of the women surveyed reported that they had had negative thoughts about their appearance during the past week. 31% had negative thoughts several times a day
  •         When asked which celebrity has the perfect body Kelly Brook came top of the list.

-ENDS-

Editor’s notes

320 women studying at 20 British universities completed The Succeed Foundation Body Image Survey in March 2011.

Age Breakdown: Range 18-65 years. Average age= 24.49 years.

In response to the fact that it is common for women attending universities to have body image issues, on April 2 and 3 2011, The Succeed Foundation is launching The Succeed Body Image Programme in UK universities. This is a scientifically supported programme that aims to improve body image and prevent the onset of eating disorders.

The Succeed Foundation was founded in 2010 by Karine Berthou, with the mission of raising awareness and providing support for those affected by eating disorders. The aim is to introduce new programmes and fresh research to halve the average recovery time of sufferers; by creating networks, delivering programmes and adapting new technologies in prevention, education and coaching. All programmes or projects are scientifically supported and easily replicable, enabling availability to the widest number possible.

The Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) is a multi-disciplinary research centre based at the UWE, Bristol. CAR strives to make a real difference to the lives of the many hundreds of thousands of people with appearance-related concerns both in the United Kingdom and across the world. CAR acts as a focus and centre of excellence for psychological and interdisciplinary research in appearance, disfigurement, body image and related studies. 

 

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers

BRISTOL UWE

Tel: 0117 32 82208

E-mail: Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.ukor Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk

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