As Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2014 comes to a close, Women and Equalities Minister Jenny Willott is warning that we urgently need to address the widespread problem of poor body image, as evidence mounts of its harmful effects on mental and physical wellbeing.
With hospital admissions for eating disorders on the rise – 8% in the last year – and cosmetic procedures continuing to soar – over 50,000 performed in 2013, a rise of 17% since 2012 – some experts are claiming social media and celebrity culture are part of the problem.
Jenny Willott said:
There is so much pressure on young people to conform to the ideal body – even Olympic athletes, young women at the pinnacle of their strength and performance, are telling us they feel scrutinised about their appearance.
This causes immense distress to young people and their families, but it also affects young women’s confidence and aspirations in the job market. The whole of society pays a price through the waste of unfulfilled talent.
It has never been more important for us to help young girls and women to have confidence in the full range of their talents, and to raise their aspirations beyond how closely they match unrealistic standards of beauty.
The government’s Body Confidence campaign continues to work with the media, advertising, retail and fashion industries to encourage more diverse and realistic representation of body shapes, sizes, ages and skin colour