Almost half of adults have been ‘body shamed’
Almost half of adults have been ‘body shamed’ – because of their weight, hair or even the size of their feet.
A poll of 2,000 adults found 56 per cent have been on the receiving end of an unpleasant comment about their appearance within the last year.
And one in 10 have been criticised for their looks in the past week alone.
Their weight was the most common target of the body shaming with six in 10 of those who have experienced it having comments made about their size.
Skin, hair and height are also among the areas prone to criticism with one in 10 even being victimised because of their foot size and eyebrows.
Zoe Griffiths, global director of nutrition at wellness company WW, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s clear that many are struggling with their body confidence, often due to comments from others which is really sad to see.
“The research is clear – weight stigma, including negative beliefs people carry about themselves, actually get in the way of a person’s efforts to be healthier.
“We strongly oppose body shaming and weight-based bias anywhere it shows up such as in the media, the workplace, the medical field, and in relationships.”
The study also found one sixth have experienced a negative comment from their partner and almost a quarter by their own family members in the past 12 months.
Worryingly, friends were revealed as the most likely to comment on someone’s appearance with one in four saying their peers have made remarks about their body in the last year.
These types of experiences have led to two in five feeling insecure, embarrassed and humiliated.
It also emerged 42 per cent have had an acquaintance post a video or photos of them on social media which they didn’t like, which led to more than a third un-tagging themselves.
Almost six in 10 disliked the image because they thought they looked overweight, while two in five believed they looked ‘bad’ in contrast to their friends.
As a result, an eighth said the photo or video encouraged them to change their eating habits, while three in 10 requested it be removed altogether.
Worryingly, more than a quarter admitted that using social media makes them compare their body to others.
And more than a third believe social media has made us become an image-focused society.
Around 40 per cent even avoid sharing pictures of themselves while two in 10 of those polled, via OnePoll, have their accounts set to private in order to avoid trolls.
However, more than an eighth said the rise of size inclusive models in pop culture has helped them feel more confident about how they look and a quarter are currently ‘comfortable’ with their body.
And one in five believe we are in a new age which encourages positivity, with 39 per cent describing themselves as ‘body positive’.
Zoe Griffiths, from WW, added: “We recognise the very real pressures that people are under to have a certain body type, and social media undoubtedly heightens these pressures.
“We gently challenge the belief that you can’t feel differently about your body unless or until you lose weight.
“Chasing body satisfaction based on the scale rarely works and can even be detrimental.
“It’s about having a healthy pattern of eating that includes foods you love, being active in ways that feel good, and thinking in ways that help you feel confident and reach your goals.
“We teach members tools and techniques to help them shift how they think – for example, encouraging them to focus more on what their bodies can do and accomplish rather than how they look.
“We know that people who have more positive relationships with their bodies tend to be happier – and that happier people make healthier choices in the long term.”