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MPs launch survey on body image and mental health

MPs launch survey on body image and mental health
25.04.2022
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A survey looking at the effect of body image on physical and mental health has been launched by MPs in England.

It also asks whether people have used the NHS to deal with body image issues and how successful services have been.

The Health and Social Care Committee will use the survey as part of its ongoing inquiry into the impact of body image.

The committee will hold another parliamentary evidence session on Tuesday.

At the first session in March, The Vamps guitarist James Brittain-McVey told MPs about being pressured into getting liposuction at 20.

This session will hear from doctors, researchers and people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Questions in the survey cover a range of topics, including whether thoughts and feelings on body image negatively impact quality of life, and which aspects of life are affected the most.

There are no questions in the survey about the link between social media and negative body image, despite the current inquiry into the effect of influencer culture being conducted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Worries about body image can become enormously distressing, particularly for young people.

“To support our inquiry into body image, we’re asking people to take part in a survey about how concerns about body image can affect their physical and mental health,” he added.

“We want to hear about their experiences of accessing NHS services in relation to body image, whether people know where to go to get help, and whether they feel any stigma in seeking support for health issues relating to body image.”

The inquiry comes after the Women and Equalities Committee found in 2020 that 61% of adults and 66% of children felt negative or very negative about their body image most of the time.

Diet culture, Photoshop and social media were cited as some of the biggest causes of poor body image, along with the lack of diverse representation in advertising campaigns.

Those who responded to the survey called for major change, including more funding for mental health services, and changes to school curriculums to help teach children about body diversity.

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