'Millions of British adults have experienced suicidal thoughts or emotions because of concerns about their body image, a survey shows.
One of the largest polls on the issue, for the Mental Health Foundation, found one in eight people aged 18 and above have been so distressed about their body image they have thought about killing themselves.
While the issue of body image in children, particularly girls, has come to the fore in recent years, the charity says its research illustrates people can be adversely affected regardless of gender or age, with many of the same drivers, such as social media and advertising, at play.
Among its recommendations are the vetting of adverts related to “high-risk industries”, such as cosmetic surgery, weight loss and fashion.
Mark Rowland, the chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “There has always been idealised body representation across media, but it’s the quantity of those images and the frequency in which we see them [now] – that’s what we’re worried about. Let’s be proactive in increasing the diversity of, and range of, bodies across our media that people see.”
He said platforms such as Twitter and Instagram shared billions of photographs every year reflecting a society that appeared “increasingly consumerist, increasingly celebrity-orientated, increasingly focused on external appearances”.
One in five of the 4,505 respondents said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image, and the proportion was almost one in two among 18 to 24-year-olds.'
Read more: One in eight UK adults have suicidal thoughts over body image – poll
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