LONDON – A British television station plans to screen a documentary featuring women who volunteer to slim to ultrathin sizes to expose the health dangers of excessive dieting, it said on Thursday.
Britain's Channel 4 will show "Super-Skinny Me: The Race to Size Zero" early next year, as a group of female journalists film their attempts to drop to a size 2, equivalent to a U.S. size 00.
"This documentary will highlight the dangers of aiming for a super-skinny look, and expose the serious health risks of extreme weight-loss methods, all of which are already in the public domain," said a Channel 4 spokesman.
"At every stage of filming there will be continuous full medical support and expert guidance at hand."
The channel said it hoped the findings would provoke the same type of debate as Morgan Spurlock's documentary film "Super Size Me," which showed the health effects of a month long binge on fast food.
Two recent British studies found the average woman in Britain is a British dress size 14, equivalent to a U.S. size 10.
"The documentary will also look at how the super-skinny American fad is spreading to the U.K. and question whether it is spawning an extreme, collective eating disorder," Channel 4 said in a statement.
Britain's last national size survey, taken in 2002, found that British women had gained weight and changed proportion since a first census was conducted in the 1950s.
Research conducted last month by polling company Mintel, which interviewed 1,000 women, found the average woman in Britain was a British dress size 14. The study had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
It backed up findings from a study by British retailer Marks and Spencer, which also found female customers were an average dress size 14.
Britain's Eating Disorder Association said it had worries about the potential health effects on those taking part in the documentary.
"It could be very difficult to eat normally again after this experiment is over," said spokesman Steve Bloomfield.