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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Women 'have constant body woes'
Kelly Brook
Kelly Brook was voted as having the best figure by women surveyed
Almost a third of women worry about the way their body looks "every waking minute", a survey suggests.

The poll of over 5,000 women for Grazia magazine found just one in 50 was happy with the way her body looks, with women wanting to lose an average of 19lbs.

Seven out of 10 women said life would improve if they had "better" bodies.

The Eating Disorders Association said body concerns were not illness - but warned anorexia and bullimia began with a "distorted" body image.

Women had tried a range of extreme measures, such as laxative use and fasting in order to lose weight.

If [women] step on the scales and find themselves 2lbs heavier it can ruin their day
Jane Bruton, Grazia editor

Actress and TV presenter Kelly Brook, famed for her curves, was considered to have the best British female body in the survey.

It concluded that the average British woman worries about her body every 15 minutes.

Virtually all those who completed the magazine and website survey said they had dieted at some point in their life - with 41% saying they constantly watched what they ate.

Half admitted to lying about their weight, while almost a third (29%) cut size labels out of their clothes.

'Muffin rolls'

The most hated part of the body for women was their thighs - highlighted by 87%, with the waist, disliked by 79%.

The survey also revealed 65% were unhappy with their breasts, with the same number having negative feelings about their feet and 59% unhappy with their face.

Teeth were picked out by 57% of the women surveyed, who said they were unhappy with the way they looked.

Half said they had "muffin rolls" - described as "podgy rolls sticking out over their waistband".

The only parts of the body which were widely liked were the "slimmish ankles" owned by 54% of those surveyed.

'Fixes' available

Grazia editor Jane Bruton said she was encouraged that women said their ideal weight would be a healthy 9st 2lb (58kg).

But she added: "British women today are harshly critical of their body shape.

"As a result, many of us have what is called a normal/abnormal relationship with food and are full of contradictions - we might have a diet coke with a doughnut or skip lunch because we're going out for dinner.

"Many women are constantly thinking `shall I eat it, shall I not eat it' and, rightly or wrongly, if they step on the scales and find themselves 2lbs heavier it can ruin their day."

One expert told the magazine part of the problem was that access to surgery and procedures which could change the way someone looks increased pressure on those who were unhappy.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the Eating Disorders Association, said: "This survey is self-selecting, but it does highlight a particular trend which seems to be increasing."

She added: "We all have days where we think we shouldn't have that extra biscuit. That's very different to having a psychological illness - which is what an eating disorder is.

"But all eating disorders begin with a distorted relationship with food and how you feel about your body."


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