Almost half of the UK (44%) say they are not confident in their own body image, with many saying this impacts their love life, social life, mental health and even career progression, according to new research from leisure operator, Better.
Better revealed, in a survey of 2,000 respondents by OnePoll, that 51% of women are not confident about their bodies compared to 36% of men. Meanwhile, the 35–44 age group have been found to be the least confident age group.
Pressure from peers, social media and film and television were found to be the top three contributors behind low body confidence.
Body confidence issues were found to have a negative impact on the everyday life of respondents, who said their love life (36%) and social life (36%) had been most affected, with a clear gender split in how much mental health is impacted, with 41% of women and 28% of men admitted to struggling.
Among those aged between 18–24, and likely the heavier users of social media, 57% said that low body confidence has had the biggest impact on their mental health, followed by their love life (54%), social life (52%) and career progression (32%), bringing into question the role of media which they consume, and whether this has an impact.
As part of the research, Better spoke to activists and influencers to get their tips to overcome these issues. Staying fit and healthy, speaking openly about our problems and treating ourselves to activities we enjoy are all actions they explain can kick start a more positive relationship with body image. The body disorder activists Daren Pritchard said:
‘In a day where image is so important, and where social media perpetuates this importance, it’s hard to feel confident if you don’t conform to 90% of what is sold to you as attractive. If you’re struggling, talk to someone.’
Leon Popplewell, Better Community Sports Manager said: ‘Figures like these highlight the work that needs to be done to get people to feel comfortable in their own skin. Whether this be through support from peers or working hard on mental and physical health, we need to be more open, honest and supportive, especially considering the impact modern media can have on our minds.’
You can find personal case studies from three male influencers who have struggled with their body confidence in the past, as well as their tips on how to overcome those issues in Better’s full report here.
Better is a not for profit charitable social enterprise committed to delivering a better quality of fitness and leisure, libraries and performing arts facilities for everyone.