One in three UK teenagers feel ‘ashamed’ of their body

A third of British teenagers feel “upset by” or “ashamed of” their body, with social media making them worry more about their looks, new research has found.

Forty per cent of teenagers said the way body image was idealised online made them feel anxious about their own, with 35 per cent admitting they had stopped eating or limited what they ate over worries about their appearance.

The YouGov survey of 1,118 British teenagers revealed 35 per cent of respondents worried about their body “often” or “always”. Forty per cent said remarks by friends made them anxious about their appearance.

The report’s authors, from the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), recognised that body image concerns are “a relatively common experience and not a mental health problem in and of itself”.

However, they also warned that such anxieties could trigger damaging psychological issues, particularly in teenagers.

“Worries about body image can lead to mental health problems and, in some instances, are linked to self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings,” said Jane Caro, the MHF’s programme lead for families, children and young people in England.

“Our survey has shown that millions of young people in Britain are worrying about their body image,” she added.

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