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Sick vs skinny: 60% take risks in search of 'perfect body'

BODY BEAUTIFUL: The quest for perfection is becoming dangerous for young women

WORRYING FINDINGS show that 60% of 'millenials' (those currently aged 18-34) risk illnesses and symptoms such as insomnia, tiredness and heart disease to achieve the ‘ideal body’.

Emma Kenny, Psychologist and Director of online health resource Make Your Switch conducted the research, which revealed startling facts:

• 38% are prepared to sacrifice their mental health and well-being through extreme dieting

• Women are six times more likely than men to worry about weight and body image than their health

• Side-effects resulting from extreme dieting including insomnia and heart disease are ignored

• 26% use diet pills

• Fitness bloggers and popular Instagrammers cause weight worries among 17% of young people.

However, the risks to achieve the ideal body don't stop at taking their physical toll.

Looking for quick results fast, one in five millennials (16%) will try a new diet trend even if there is little evidence to back it up and in a case of doctors don't know best, over a quarter of young people prefer to 'listen to their own body' than seek medical advice.

More quick-fix methods popularised by celebrities and Instagram models have seen worrying trends among young people, with a fifth choose to fast (21%) and 31% opt to cut out entire food groups, compared to just 10% who follow a balanced diet.

Kenny says:

“It's very sad, but unsurprising that young men and women are willing to take such risks with their mental and physical well-being these days.

"There is so much emphasis placed on women's bodies and the 'perfection expectation'. From a very young age children are being told that the way they look is more important than any other trait.

“The body shaming that regularly takes place on social media, along with the ‘beautiful equals successful’ equation, gives women a very powerful message - that they are only valued for their looks. This means that men and women are more likely to be willing to harm themselves if it means gaining approval."

"We need to build women’s self-esteem beyond that of superficial beauty and into something that is more than just skin-deep. At Make Your Switch, we go deeper and explore what it takes to look after your happiness, health, fitness and well-being - which are all equally important."

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