Between November 2011 and February 2012 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image conducted a wide-ranging Inquiry into the causes and consequences of body image anxiety. During the public consultation we heard from a range of witnesses including representatives from industry, the voluntary sector, academics, youth organisations and the media. The report set out below captures the evidence presented to us – including the evidence sessions held in Parliament, the responses to the public consultation and a number of briefings and academic papers sent to us.

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Reply to comment | APPG on Body Image

I do not leave many comments, but i did some searching
and wound up here Reply to comment | APPG on Body Image. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind. Could it be simply me or does it appear like a few of the comments come across like written by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are writing on additional social sites, I'd like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of your community pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?
My web page Bielizna

Health at Every Size

I was so pleased to reach the last section of this report and finally see a mainstream source questioning the wisdom of promoting weight loss as the only route to health. Including a case study of the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach is a fantastic step forward.

The evidence that trained medical professionals actively discriminate against larger people and give them a poorer service is a clear demonstration that society's obsession with weight has very little to do with promoting health.

Unfortunately, I don't believe any of this will change without legislation, just as other forms of discrimination require legal grounds to successfully challenge. On top of this, people being made to feel bad about their appearance is big business and we live in a system, particularly in the current economic crisis, that celebrates 'growth' and 'profits' without ever assessing the human costs of the excessive consumerism required to sustain them.

Found a download link

And you can also download it above


is there any way of having a

is there any way of having a print copy sent to me?


Blimey! None of you were joking about the difficulty of downloading this report, were you?

About time

A great report. You highlight many issues that a lot of us have been worried about in recent years. I hope it's taken as seriously as it should be.

ody Confidence Classes and Eating Disorders

I cannot help but feel that these 'education' classes will create problems rather than solve them. To have concerns about physical appearance and changes in body shape (and bodily function) at puberty and during adolescence is normal. Classes/teaching that focuses on body image will merely draw attention to a normal part of human development and pathologise it. Those kids who may not have considered the importance/relevance of body image will be made acutely aware that image is an 'issue'. Moreover, these classes involve the revelation and discussion of private feelings in a public forum. Imagine the embarrassment!

The report links eating disorders to dieting and popular culture. Eating disorders are biologically-based mental illnesses that affect individuals with a particular vulnerability in the form of inherent temperament and personality characteristics. Despite huge changes in our culture and media obsession with appearance and the so-called 'thin ideal', the prevalence of the most deadly of eating disorders and mental illnesses, anorexia nervosa, has not increased over the past 30 years. The assumption that popular culture causes eating disorders is axiomatic but not evidence-based. Many children and adults diet, but most go unscathed.
They simply give up. I agree that bullying is an issue and it doesn't surprise me, as someone who suffered from anorexia nervosa for many years, that a B-eat survey linked eating disorders to bullying. But bullying is caused by bullies; not culture or society. Bullies have always existed, irrespective of our culture. When I was a child in the 1970s (when there was no internet and the plethora of vacuous nonsense that we call celebrity culture), bullies would pick upon anyone who looked different, including heavier children.

Body image is an issue in 21st Century culture in part because well-meaning people (e.g. feminist theorists) harp on about it incessantly. Body image is now considered an academic subject. In my humble opinion the world would be a better place if people just shut up about body image and focused outwardly instead of inwardly. By the way, those photos, “I ♥ Me” are nauseatingly schmalzy and bordering on narcissistic.

body confidence

Anorexia may not have increased in direct proportion to the cultural obsession with image, but many other forms of eating disorder have.

You echoed my thoughts

You echoed my thoughts precisely re education. Focusing classes on body image is not the right solution, but I think classes looking at what makes us admire a person (i.e. selfishness, determination, kindness, intelligence) would be great.

Unfortunately I can't agree with your other points. We all have anecdotal evidence, here's mine: I was born in 1985 and became pregnant this year. It was only then that I realised how much pressure I'd been under since hitting my teenage year to look a certain way. Since having a baby bump society has treated me in a very different way, a simple example of which is that people don't look at me half as much on the tube anymore - people no longer need to judge me so much on my physical appearance. Don't ask me why pregnant women are exempt from this, I could be here for hours with various theories, but it's been a very liberating, and a very different, experience. I've never been bullied about my appearance but, once I started to think about it, I realised that I have often been praised for being skinny, doing my eye makeup like the magazines etc.. Basically, for looking like women in adverts. Turns out I was emulating them to get recognition, and I thought I was an impervious educated woman (I have a PhD)! God knows how more susceptible people must feel.

As for feminist theorists, I can't help thinking they wouldn't go on about it if it wasn't a problem. There are plenty of other issues to occupy them after all.

Body Image Classes and Eating Disorders

I share the above concerns about body image classes. As far as I know there is no evidence that they work and I agree, they could well cause embarrassment and distress to vulnerable children. That is not to say that much of our culture today is not toxic and could well do with changing, but I question whether this is the way to do it. Excellent teaching of subjects such as music, literature, science and history together with a strict adherence to anti-bullying measures to minimise cruelty whatever the chosen target of the bullies sounds like a better approach to me than instituting new classes to an already over-full curriculum.

I also share the poster's concerns about the link being made between culture and eating disorders. Eating disorders are biologically based mental illnesses, not fads or fashion. The incidence of anorexia nervosa has not increased over the last 30 years and the increase in bulimia, BED and other eating disorders may well be explained by better diagnosis and the increasing access to food as much as by popular culture. It is true that dieting can often be an immediate "trigger" for eating disorders but that dieting could be for "health" or religious purposes or as a result of illness or over-training and focus on media images will do nothing to prevent these possible gateways into illness. It will also do nothing to further the cause of identifying and treating these potentially fatal illnesses and could even distract from it.

Appearance Matters

I am very please this report is out. Many of it's findings back the points made by BAAPS over some years. Work is advanced on the psychology questionnaire and it is now being trialled. We have been calling for a ban on advertising in this sector for some years. Surgery is prescribed for a patient just as a medicine is and, as such, should be governed by the same advertising rules and not be allowed.
The problem is highlighted as being more of an epidemic than smoking and we do need to accept this is a public health issue.

N Mercer
Past President of BAAPS and of EASAPS

A useful report

Very comprehensive and practical review. Perhaps, a shame recommendations are voluntary - not sure what motivation industries will have to conform to standards (though not the fault of the PPG). Nonetheless, very worthy and valid work. Now we have the problem outlined, and the role industries etc can play in this - individuals will have a foundation for challenging standards that promote poor body confidence.

Body Image Report feedback

Ignoring all the negative comments below, I think this was a good report which makes complete sense. As a tutor to teenage girls who have been excluded from school, this report highlights what is SO true - that a lot of young people feel they need to conform to the 'ideal images' they see portrayed on television, in magazines and generally all around.

When I was a teenager, I myself had issues with body dysmorphia and I used to get extremely upset about the fact that according to the BMI up on my Doctor's wall, I was 'overweight' verging on 'obese'. In actual fact, if I was to go down to the 'ideal weight' for my height suggested on the BMI chart, I would be nothing but skin and bone.... I know this as I now exercise regularly, follow a healthy diet and fit easily into size 10/12 clothes yet the BMI still tells me I'm overweight!

Your report highlights the importance of tackling the body image issue from all the different angles which is very important and could make a huge dfiference to a lot of people if your reccommendations can be applied. Thank you!

What you say echoes my

What you say echoes my experience, at uni I was very muscly and fit but my BMI was overweight so I tried so hard to get to a normal BMI, I did loads of exercise and followed a so called healthy eating plan recommended by the British heart foundation then tried slimming world. This turned into Bulimia, I never even considered any fad diets.
Thankfully I have learnt that BMI is a load of rubbish and that diets do not work, and no longer have disordered eating. I do exercise that I enjoy and eat what I want when I am hungry and I am definitely a lot healthier physically and mentally than I ever was on a diet. I also have a great body image, which I hope to pass on to my future children.
I really hope alternatives to BMI and dieting are used in the future by health care professionals.

Thanks for this useful resource

I think this is a well-researched and well-structured report, which covers different aspects of body image in an accessible yet informative way. Well done.

I question the wisdom of "body image" classes in primary schools. I remember a "healthy eating" class in primary school that made me and the children around me conscious of our bodies in a way that was destructive. Rather than relying on our parents to provide nutrition and stop us from eating too many sweets in a carefree and childlike way, we all started thinking about calories and the food pyramid and trying to cut out treats. I can imagine that body images classes might have a similar effect - they'd be beneficial perhaps for the few children with body issues, but for the rest of the kids they'd simply necessitate thinking about things that they just shouldn't have to think about yet.

I really welcome the recommendation for tighter advertising standards in the cosmetic surgery industry.

Again - a really useful resource. Thank you!


Probably the worst report

Probably the worst report I've ever read.

Reflections on body image

Where is a .pdf copy? it's sheer stupidity on somebody's part not to have issued the report in that format . . .


Anyone would think, looking at the report, that the only people who worry about their body shape, or get criticised for it, are "overweight" people. That is not the case. Thin women worry just as much about their body shape, though in different ways. It would have been nice to have seen more acknowledgement of that in this report, which I feel is extremely one-sided and distorted. I have also read many of the submissions in the spreadsheet I downloaded from your website, and many of the contributors were making remarks that were openly derogatory about thin women, in a way that would no longer be tolerated if the same kinds of remarks were made about larger women. I have always felt that this campaign is guilty of many of the things it claims to oppose, and this report reinforces that view.


Not making this report available for downloading, but adding it to a website that advertises diet programmes is both irresponsible and goes against the principles within this report, in my view. See here

It is also clear to me that absolutely ZILCH will be done because legislation is in fact required but not recommended in this report.

This is report is in a long line of report which is full of good intentions, but without legislation nothing will change.

There is no financial or legislative incentive for industries responsible for the current body image cancer in our society to change.
The fashion, advertising, promotion and film and TV industries make billions out of body image crisis, and they have no reason to stop what they are doing - feeding the cancer they have created. They are not naive stupid people, they know exactly what they are doing.

For advertising companies to deny that imagery they create has any effect upon people is to deny the value advertising and need for the industry's existence and is anathema!

The road to hell is lined with good intentions, and hell is exactly where 1 in 4 people are right now due to the media and the diet industry.

The report can now be downloaded and printed

The purpose of this report is to set out what action different sectors can take. The general feedback was that we would like to work collaboratively without the need to resort to legislation.

Downloading, etc.

Why must we subscribe to yet another Web service -- one not even affiliated with the YMCA charity -- that will use/trade/sell our personal information simply in order to download this report? ( requires us to register and login to download.)
As others have noted, for various reasons, the process doesn't "feel" like it's all about the public good.

Downloading report

Is it possible to make the report downloadable?


How can we download this

How can we download this report or get a hardcopy? It's too small to read on screen. Thanks.

Report now available to download and print

Hi there, thanks for the feedback. It is now possible to download and print the report.

Report now available to download and print

Would it not have been common sense to give the link to it?

The website is poor, and the presentation atrocious . . .


Thank you for addressing this. It is still not quite clear though how to download the document.

How do you download the

How do you download the report? Do you have to have an account with the host site, Issuu? It's very difficult to read on that site.

To download the pdf go to

To download the pdf go to this link :

Underneath the report it has a clickable download button (a box with an arrow pointing down) - it asks you to log in (I logged in via facebook) then you can save a copy to your computer.

HTH :)

Where's the PDF?

It's not easy to read in that format. Where's the PDF format? I hate all that scrolling about and there should not be any adverts next to it if the report is to be unbiased.


This survey is unclear and slanted to getting a specific set of responses, for example the questions about apperence could be interpretted as dressed propery for work, there is no link in these questions on apperence to body type.

There are other questions that will lead respondents to a paticual type of answer, it would be a challange in the survey to not blame the media, as the majority of responses in these questions target the media.

The results need to be withdrawn and a statement issued that the results cannot be relied on.