Women Would Shorten Their Lives To Have "The Perfect Body"

Illustration for article titled Women Would Shorten Their Lives To Have "The Perfect Body"

But don't be too depressed: only 1% would be willing to trade 21 years or more. Gee.

More genuinely reassuring is the fact that the study — by researchers from the University of the West of England and U.K. eating disorder charity The Succeed Foundation — used a relatively small sample-size and so, hopefully, isn't fully representative. But even if the results are limited to this particular population of 320 students, they're dispiriting:

The survey found that 16 percent of young women queried said they'd trade a year of life for their ideal body weight and shape. Ten percent were willing to trade two to five years, and 2 percent were willing to trade up to 10 years of life away. One percent said they would give up 21 years or more.

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Even more worrisome, "The majority of the women surveyed were dissatisfied with how they looked, the researchers found. Although 78 percent of the women sampled were normal weight - or even underweight - 79 percent of the survey group said they wanted to lose weight. Only 3 percent said they'd like to gain weight."

Oh, and in case this didn't have you despairing, here's the kicker:

Eight percent would give up a promotion at work, and 6 percent would give up earning a degree with honors. Nine percent were willing to give up time with friends and partners, while 7 percent said they'd trade in time with their family. Another 7 percent said they would sacrifice health to reach their ideal weight.

It doesn't seem like "thinness" is a means to anything, so much as an unattainable end in itself. And that's depressing.

Many Women Would Trade 1 Year Of Life To Be Thin [LiveScience]

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DISCUSSION

Wow. Ok, I just said below that I'd be ok trading a year or two for the perfect body, but maybe we can cool it with the agism when talking about the tradeoffs? I don't think there are many Jezebel commenters in their 70s or 80s, but many of the elderly people I know have more to their lives than being in diapers and senility, and if they were here they might have something to say about the assumptions. Since old age is one of the periods of life that's least romanticized in our culture, I suspect people who aren't approaching it tend to undervalue its more positive points.