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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 00:16 GMT 01:16 UK
Women 'obsessed by their bodies'
Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford voted 'most inspirational woman'
Women are obsessed by their bodies, and even many of those who are of normal weight wish they could be slimmer, a survey suggests.

The survey of 5,000 women commissioned by Top Sante magazine found that 85% of women in the UK think about their size and shape every day.

Eight of 10 women said that their lives would improve considerably if they were totally happy with their body.

Half of those surveyed classified themselves as overweight. This closely resembles current government statistics which show 53% of British females are now overweight.

The impact of self-image on sex
Seven out of 10 women don't feel confident undressing in front of their partner
Seven out of 10 don't feel confident about their body during sex
86% of women think men find slim women more attractive
83% of women say overweight men are a turn-off
59% of women say they prefer food to sex

An overwhelming 98% of women who are overweight are unhappy with their size and their shape.

And even 78% of women who fall within normal weight limits for their height still wish they were slimmer - by an average of 10lbs.

The survey also found that 73% of women who are underweight are unhappy with their body size and shape.

Only 1% of women are happy with the whole of their body.

Nearly nine out of 10 (86%) women have dieted at some stage and the average woman has tried to diet 32 times. One in 10 women say they diet constantly.

However, only 50% of women say they exercise three times a week.

Plastic surgery

Some 62% of all women say they will 'definitely' (29%) or 'possibly' (33%) have plastic surgery.

More than three-quarters (76%) of women think their sex-life would be better if they were their ideal shape and size.

Size and discrimination
91% of women think society discriminates against overweight people
81% think slim women find it easier to get a good job
62% think overweight people tend to be viewed as less intelligent than average
71% of overweight women have suffered derogatory remarks
48% have been labelled with a hurtful size-related nickname

The survey found that women viewed other females as most critical about their bodies.

Four out of 10 women have suffered from some kind of eating disorder including anorexia (8%), bulimia (10%) and bingeing (25%).

But only 23% of these women have ever sought any medical help.

Top Sante editor Karen Williamson said: "British women have become incredibly critical of their bodies and their obsession with their shape and size is spoiling their lives.

"It's time we did ourselves a favour and let go of the unrealistic 'perfect' body dream and celebrated the female form in all its uniqueness."

Women who took part in the survey were asked who was the most inspirational woman in the world.

They voted supermodel Cindy Crawford into first place followed by Madonna, Julia Roberts and Goldie Hawn.

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | Health
Survey reveals weight misery
10 Jul 00 | Health
Warning over UK obesity levels
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