There was a study conducted not long ago by a charity group called The Succeed Foundation, in conjunction with The University of the West of England. Their research found that 30 percent of women surveyed in England would give up at least one year of their life in order to achieve their ideal body weight and shape.
While body image is typically thought to be more of an issue for adolescent girls, this survey was conducted on university campuses across the UK, leading researchers to believe the problem relates to women of all ages, and not just young girls.
One of the major findings was that the majority of women surveyed believed that more needs to be done to promote positive body image at an earlier age in schools and universities.
The research found that in order to achieve their ideal body weight and shape:
16% would trade in one year of their life
10% would trade in 2-5 years of their life
2% would trade in 6-10 years of their life
1% would trade in 21 years or more of their life
In addition, 26% of the women surveyed were willing to sacrifice at least one of the following:
A promotion at work (8%)
Spending time with their partner (9%)
Spending time with their families (7%)
Spending time with their friends (9%)
Their health ( 7%)
The survey also found that 46% of the women surveyed on university campuses have been bullied or ridiculed because of their appearance.
In addition, 79% of the women reported that they would like to lose weight, despite the fact that 78.4% of the women were actually within the underweight or normal weight ranges.
Also disturbingly, 93% of the women surveyed reported they had negative thoughts about their appearance during the week while 31% had negative thoughts several times day.
I’m not sure the numbers would be dramatically different if the survey was conducted in this country, but we’re obviously doing something wrong as a society if young women, who have their entire lives and endless possibilities in front of them, would be willing to trade even one day of life in order to appear as others feel they should be seen.
For all the education opportunities we offer young people, accepting ourselves for who we are should be near the top of the list.