Women's Health

Majority of girls want different bodies, survey finds

Most teen girls do not think they are beautiful and believe losing weight would make them more attractive, a new survey has found.

The results show at least 54 percent of girls aged between 13 and 20 skip meals while 96 percent would change their body if they could.

The survey—published Wednesday in Australia's Girlfriend magazine—highlights the crippling insecurity among young girls.

Sarah Tarca, editor of Girlfriend, which commissioned the research, said the number one word girls used to describe themselves was "self-conscious."

One quarter did not like what they saw in the mirror while just nine percent were proud of how they looked.

"The thing we were most surprised about was the contradictory nature of the results," Tarca said. "For example, 60 percent might not think they are beautiful but then at the same time 54 percent said they had a healthy body image.

"We asked what characteristics they saw as being beautiful and the top six were confidence, happiness, having a good personality, friendly, fit, being healthy and intelligent. They are not even equating that to physical appearance."

Australian Federal Youth Minister Peter Garrett said positive body image awards had been set up to promote responsible products.

"Statistics like this show what a hugely important issue it is for young girls. There is ... sometimes an unhealthy concentration on ideal figure or body shape, which of course none of us have," he said.

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