Third of UK adults feel “anxious” about their body image [new research]

A third of UK adults feel anxious about their bodies, with a further one in eight experiencing suicidal thoughts, according to a new survey by the Mental Health Foundation

The charity’s poll of 4,500 UK adults discovered that concerns over body image are making large numbers of people depressed, and even suicidal.

The issue is also affecting a broad range of people, with “young women showing the highest rates of distress” and one in five adults aged 55 and over admitting to feeling anxious, highlighting the need to promote body diversity in advertising. 

Body image is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13–19 May), which is organised by the charity, and its aim is to put a spotlight on how body image can impact people’s mood. 

"Our survey indicates that millions of adults in the UK are struggling with concerns about their body image. For some people this is potentially very severe,” said Mental Health Foundation chief executive Mark Rowland. 

"Significant numbers have felt feelings of disgust and shame or changed their behaviour to avoid situations that make them reflect negatively about their bodies."

Beauty brands HD Brows and Spa Experience are just a few of the companies paving the way for more body positivity in the industry, while some salons are offering free tans in reaction to body-shaming stories 

Rowland added: "Many people identified social media as an important factor causing them to worry about their body image – and the majority of respondents felt the Government needed to take more action.” 

The charity wants clearer ways for people to report abuse and bullying online, something which the Government is looking into. 

This comes at a time where girls between the ages of five and 16 years old say bullying and social media has pushed them to wear make-up