A new study of 1,000 men and women aged between 15 and 34 has found that women are six times more likely to prioritise their weight or body image above their health.
The study found that while 44% worried about their weight, only 7% had any concern for their health.
More worryingly still was that of those studied two-thirds were willing to damage their long-term health by ignoring any side effects encountered when trying to lose weight.
- 38% of those studied were willing to sacrifice their mental health
- 27.6% were suffering from insomnia
- 22.4% had encountered frequent dizziness
- 15% had heart disease
Some women had even stopped having periods due to extreme dieting, with 86 out of the 1,000 surveyed admitting to this problem.
What is causing people to jeopardise their health for their looks?
People have always taken diets to the extreme, but nowadays with celebrity culture, fad diets and social media trends such as the ‘thigh gap’ or ‘A4 paper challenge’ there seems to be more pressure to be as thin as possible, whatever the costs.
In fact, the study has shown that 28% of those surveyed had been influenced by these unhealthy trends.
Emma Kenny, a psychologist and lead researcher behind this study had this to say about her findings:
“It’s very sad, but unsurprising that young men and women are willing to take such risks with their mental and physical well-being these days.”
“There is so much emphasis placed on women’s bodies and the ‘perfection expectation’. From a very young age, children are being told that the way they look is more important than any other trait.”
“The body shaming that regularly takes place on social media, along with the ‘beautiful equals successful’ equation, gives women a very powerful message – that they are only valued for their looks. This means that men and women are more likely to be willing to harm themselves if it means gaining approval.”
“We need to build women’s self-esteem beyond that of superficial beauty and into something that is more than just skin-deep.”
If you are worried about your weight or are suffering from body confidence then there are things that you can do. However, not at the cost of your health.
Is it really worth suffering long-term for short-term goals? Probably not.