[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 00:10 GMT
Teenage girls 'hate their bodies'
Britney Spears
Girls thought Britney had the best female body
Almost every teenage girl hates the way they look, a survey suggests. One in five is so unhappy they suffer from anorexia or bulimia.

The survey of 2,000 girls for Bliss magazine found six out of 10 would be happier if they lost weight.

The findings were published to mark the start of the magazine's "Love your body" campaign to help teenage girls come to terms with their body shape.

Editor Helen Johnson said it is "tragic" so many girls want to be thin.

Body image

The survey found that while 19% of those questioned were overweight, 67% thought they needed to lose weight.

Of those who wanted to lose weight, 78% wanted to lose more than half a stone. Some 46% wanted to lose more than a stone.

Who has the best body?
1. Britney Spears
2. Beyonce Knowles
3. Christina Aguilera
4. Jennifer Lopez
5. Kylie Minogue
Source: Bliss survey of 2,000 teenage girls
Two out of three girls under the age of 13 said they had already been on a diet.

More than a quarter of 14 year olds said they had considered having plastic surgery or taking diet pills. Among those who were overweight, the figure rose to 42%.

Three quarters of girls thought thin girls were more popular and attractive to boys, while 86% of overweight girls thought their thinner counterparts had more girl and boy friends.

More than half despaired that they would never look like their female role model.

The girls were asked who they thought had the best female body.

Pop stars Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue were their top five.

It's not good for young people to have to cope with the fact they are not image perfect. We can't all look like models!!
Jenni, 15, Liverpool

The survey also revealed that 90% of girls thought their own mother had "an insecure body image".

Ms Johnston said mothers may be passing on their insecurities to their daughters.

"Female body image obsession has grown year on year since the 60s and it's now reached epidemic proportions, filtering down to young girls.

"Teenage girls look to their mums for guidance only to see them continually worrying about their own body shape and size.

"Now many girls of 13 and 14 are dieting constantly at an age when their bodies are still developing."

Psychotherapist Andrea Scherzer, who specialises in eating disorders, said girls needed to build their self-confidence.

"These girls need to learn to value themselves as individuals first.

"It is with the guidance of parents and other adults in close contact with teens that they can learn to shift the focus of their negative preoccupation with body shape to that of building inner strength and self-confidence."

Eating disorders 'rife in girls'
04 Sep 01  |  Health
'Superwaif' regulation call
21 Jun 00  |  Health
Eating disorders
13 Oct 99  |  Medical notes

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific