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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 10:45 GMT
40% of teens want plastic surgery
Two thirds of girls say pressure from celebrities has made them consider plastic surgery
Four in ten teenage girls have considered plastic surgery, a survey by Bliss magazine says.

Two thirds of the 2,000 girls quizzed, average age 14, said the pressure came from celebrities with perfect bodies and boys.

Only 8% were happy with their bodies with a quarter saying they had suffered from an eating disorder.

Bliss editor Chantelle Horton said the survey results were a "21st century tragedy".

The endless parade of thin yet curvy, surgically-enhanced celebrities has made young girls obsessed with their own normal lumpy, bumpy bodies.
Chantelle Horton

The survey revealed girls were unhappy with their weight.

A third said they were overweight and seven out of 10 said they would be "100% happier if they could lose half a stone".

Parents were also partly responsible, the magazine suggested.

More than half of girls said their mother "worried and moaned" about her own weight.

While a third said they were attractive or beautiful, 15% said they thought they were "very unattractive" and 7% "yuk".

Impossible role models

Ms Horton said celebrity pressure was to blame.

Who has best female body?
1. J-Lo
2. Beyonce
3. Britney Spears
4. Christina Aguilera
5. Jamelia
"The endless parade of thin yet curvy, surgically-enhanced celebrities has made young girls obsessed with their own normal lumpy, bumpy bodies.

"They also feel tremendous pressure from boys who increasingly expect their girlfriends to resemble the perfect celebrity body model they've been fed by a looks-obsessed society.

"And when teenage girls look to their mums for reassurance and guidance they see an older generation of women who are also haunted by their imperfect body shape and size."

Psychotherapist, Andrea Scherzer, who specialises in eating disorders and body image disturbances, said: "Teenage girls are acutely aware of and influenced by the lengths adult women are prepared to risk their physical health in pursuit of a 'perfect' body. And every year the pressure to be perfect increases.

"Modern reality TV shows which focus on plastic surgery may seem laughable and grotesque to older people, but they have a worrying impact on teenage girls in the throes of puberty.

"Adolescence is a time of emotional turbulence and while teenage girls are trying to establish a sense of their own value as humans, it is up to adults to teach them to be proud of their individuality."

Tread carefully

Mr Nick Parkhouse, a consultant plastic surgeon at the McIndoe Surgical Centre in East Grinstead, West Sussex, said there were a small number of teenagers for who plastic surgery would be appropriate.

For instance, operations to correct prominent ears or a nose could bring real benefit.

But he told the BBC News website that plastic surgery was inappropriate for the vast majority of teenagers.

"Plastic surgey carries a risk of complications, side effects, such as scarring, and the risk of disappointment with the results. All these things need to be taken very carefully into account," Mr Parkhouse said.

"Cosmetic plastic surgery to correct disfigurement should not be discounted, but the idea of using it as a cosmetic social enhancement, such as earpiercing, is totally inappropriate."

Mr Parkhouse said any teenager considering plastic surgery should consult their GP, or at least seek a list of reputable plastic surgeons.

Teens going 'under the knife'
21 Nov 03 |  Magazine

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