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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 01:01 GMT 02:01 UK
Survey reveals weight misery
Healthy food
Millions of UK women are on a diet
A poll describing the cost of being overweight to relationships, work and self-belief paints too grim a picture, according to experts.

The survey of 2,000 women, commissioned by a slimming magazine, found that many were so desperate that they were resorting to unhealthy, or even dangerous, ways of losing weight.

These included making themselves sick, or taking "slimming pills" or laxatives.

But Dr Wendy Doyle of the British Dietetic Association said the use of some types of pills or laxatives to promote weight loss was a risky strategy.

The other findings of the survey include:

  • 70% thought overweight people were generally perceived as less intelligent
  • 59% eat in secret
  • 84% thought their social life would improve if they were slimmer
  • 50% said they would not let their partner see them naked
  • 40% would only make love with the lights off
  • 83% thought that overweight celebrities could not possibly be happy with their size

More than half, the survey revealed, had suffered hurtful insults from family, friends or colleagues.

Certainly the UK is pre-occupied with dieting - as many as 17m are dieting at some point during a year.

Big business

The UK slimming industry is worth an estimated 2bn - but many of those who lose weight regain it.

Obesity testing
Obesity can lead to poor health
Recent research from the Guide Association showed a fifth of girls aged 11 to 17 are on a diet.

The British Medical Association has condemned the fashion industry's use of over-skinny models.

It says this plants the wrong image of perfection in the minds of women, which can lead to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

Dr Doyle said that while being obese could carry health risks - such as an increased chance of heart disease - women at the "top end of normal" weight should not feel so negative.

She said: "There are certainly some people who are contented with the way they look.

"And others, who may be bordering on the upper normal level who do not need to diet."

She said that the use of some "diet pills" or laxatives was not a healthy way to achieve weight loss.

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See also:

05 Jan 99 | Health
Tackling a weighty problem
13 Jan 99 | Health
Fat hope for an obesity cure
09 Mar 99 | Health
Cellulite 'cure' goes on sale
19 Mar 99 | Health
Anorexia risk of moderate dieting
31 Mar 99 | Health
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