Body image is a serious issue. While the fashion industry has come under fire for its treatment of models, it’s important to remember that body image issues are not just limited to models and celebrities. Body image issues affect everyone.
And we’re here to help you understand it, and how you can take control of your body image. Whether it’s learning how to love your body, or understanding the science behind why we have such a hard time with it, we’ve got you covered.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we aren’t good enough because our bodies don’t look like theirs—but if we all just took a second to understand what really matters when it comes to our health and well-being, then maybe we could start focusing on what really matters: taking care of ourselves and each other!
It can be hard to get real data on what’s going on out there. But fortunately, we’ve got some great resources that can help us understand what’s going on with the average person’s body image these days!
Here’s a look at the latest body image statistics from research studies conducted around the world.
Important Body Image Stats (Editor’s Pick)
- In the UK, 71% of people with disabilities feel negative about their body image.
- 51% of Americans say they feel pressured to have a specific body type.
- 31% of Americans view their bodies as average.
- Women in the US are more likely than men to describe themselves as overweight.
- Over half of women aged 18 to 25 would rather be run over by a truck than have excess weight.
- Even children who are three years old can have problems related to their body image.
- 94% of female teenagers have been shamed because of how their bodies look.
- One in eight UK survey respondents has suicidal thoughts related to their body image.
- 50% of people aged 35 to 54 are familiar with the body positivity movement.
Body Image Statistics Worldwide
1. 61% of adults in the UK feel negative or extremely negative about their body image most of the time.
An extensive survey from 2020 reveals many adults who live in the UK have a negative body image. Children suffer even more, as 66% report having issues with their body image.
They all agree that a lockdown made people feel worse about their bodies and that social media’s influence on people’s body image is powerful.
2. 31% of Americans describe their body as average.
Body image influences almost all aspects of our life. For instance, roughly one in seven adults who’ve had a sexual relationship state that their body confidence impacts their sexual relationships all the time.
Most Americans see their bodies as average, while 21% think they’re chubby and 20% feel overweight. Only 14% of survey respondents think they’re slim, while 13% describe themselves as athletic.
3. 51% of Americans feel pressured to have a specific body type.
YouGov’s body image statistics reveal that more than half of Americans feel pressured to look a certain way. Also, it’s important to mention that American women feel more pressure than men. More precisely, 60% of women feel pressured, and only 42% of men do.
Interestingly, most people who think women indeed are under more pressure are women (men are more likely to believe that both genders are under equal pressure to have a particular body type).
4. 5% of American survey respondents think they’re much more attractive than other people.
Luckily, not everyone thinks badly about their appearance.
Even though 47% of Americans think they’re average-looking, 24% believe they’re more attractive than the average person. More precisely, 19% of them feel like they’re somewhat more attractive, while 5% believe they’re much more beautiful.
5. Americans think negatively about their bodies 21 times per week on average
Do you criticize yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you think about how your body looks a lot?
If so, you’re not alone.
A study investigated how many times Americans had self-critical thoughts about their bodies in a given day or week, finding that on average there were three such thoughts per day (or 21 per week).
We’re not saying this is great; but maybe it’s not so surprising either. We’re all bombarded with images of idealized bodies in the media every day, which can make us feel insecure and inadequate.
And when we see those images, we tend to focus on our perceived “flaws”: our thighs aren’t as toned as they could be or our arms aren’t quite defined enough. But those flaws don’t define us—we do!
It’s difficult to avoid these types of thoughts when we’re surrounded by images of idealized bodies and impossible beauty standards that we can’t help but compare ourselves to. But it’s important to remember that your perception of your body is different than anyone else’s. You know what your body is capable of; they don’t.
The good news is that there are things we can do every day to help us feel better about ourselves and our bodies, like eating well and getting enough sleep. We also need to stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on celebrating all the things that make us unique!
6. In the UK, 71% of people with a disability feel negative or very negative about their body image.
Body image statistics reveal that over 70% of disabled Brits are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their bodies, compared with 60% of those without a disability.
Many believe that there’s an ideal body type, which makes disabled people feel more pressured. That’s why many Brits believe people should talk more openly about body image issues.
7. 52% of 15-year-old Polish girls thought their bodies were too fat in 2018.
Statista’s survey from 2018 reveals that, among most European countries, Polish children are most likely to think their bodies are too fat. Apparently, 52% of female and 31% of male 15-year-olds in Poland think that their bodies are too fat.
Some other countries where the same problem is prevalent are Belgium, Scotland, Wales, and Germany.
8. 67.3% of Chinese children are dissatisfied with their body shape.
Body dysmorphia and problems with body image are prevalent in different countries and cultures.
Negative body image statistics reveal that 35.1% of Chinese children desire to be thinner, while 32.2% of them would like to be heavier. Also, female children have more issues related to their body image.
9. In Australia, around three in ten teenagers are concerned about their body image.
Approximately 30.4% of Australian young survey respondents are concerned about their body image. More precisely, 41.5% of females reported being concerned about body image (18.7% are extremely concerned, and 22.8% are very concerned). On the contrary, only 15.4% of males share the same concerns (6% are extremely concerned, and 9.4% are very concerned).
10. 36.7% of students from the United Arab Emirates are dissatisfied with their body image.
Body image statistics based on a survey of 728 federal university students from the United Arab Emirates point out that 36.7% aren’t satisfied with their body image. Interestingly, male students in the United Arab Emirates are more likely to experience body image dissatisfaction than female students.
Male vs. Female Body Image Statistics
11. Women are more likely to worry about their partner’s opinion about their appearance.
62% of Americans of all genders that have been in a relationship at least once say they worry somewhat or a lot about their partner’s opinion. Still, statistics reveal that 67% of women feel this way, while 58% of men do. On the contrary, 33% of people don’t worry about their partner’s opinion on their appearance.
12. 14% of male UK survey respondents feel very negative, and 3% feel very positive about their body image.
Male body image statistics suggest that men tend to have slightly more extreme feelings related to their body image. While 14% of men in the UK feel very negative and 3% feel negative about their bodies, 13% of women feel very negative, and only 1% feel negative about their body image.
13. In the US, women are more likely than men to describe themselves as overweight.
This statistic isn’t surprising at all. Namely, women are under greater pressure to be thin than men. That’s why it’s logical that 25% of American women describe themselves as overweight, while only 15% of men do. On the contrary, men are more likely to describe their bodies as athletic (18%) than women (9%).
14. More than 6 in 10 women in the UK think negatively about their bodies.
According to female body image statistics, women, transgender people, and those with a disability are most likely to experience negative feelings towards their appearance. It appears that 6 in 10 British women feel bad about their bodies.
Diet culture, social media, and little or no visual representation of older women contribute to women being dissatisfied with their bodies.
15. Over half of women aged between 18 and 25 would rather be run over by a truck than have excess weight.
It’s shocking that young women would rather be hit by a truck than be overweight. Furthermore, 70 million people all around the world suffer from eating disorders, and around 90% are young women aged 12 to 25.
Since we were little kids, we are taught to fear not only obesity, but that being skinny is the only way to look pretty. That’s why many women would do anything to be thin, even starve themselves.
Child and Teenage Body Image Statistics
16. 53% of American girls aged 13 aren’t happy with their bodies.
(Oxford Academic, MACMH, Research Gate)
Many young girls in America are unhappy with their bodies. In addition to that, 28% of 15-year-old girls are on diets.
Even though it seems that the main cause of body dysmorphia in girls is social media, one study proves otherwise. Namely, those who put the most pressure on kids to look thin or build muscle are friends and family members.
17. Up to 61% of adolescents are dissatisfied with their bodies to some extent.
32% of teenage girls and 14% of boys are dissatisfied with their weight. Additionally, over 27% of girls and almost 14% of boys aren’t happy with their figures.
Teenage girl body image statistics point out that children and teens who have a negative body image are more likely to be depressed as adults.
Also, not every adolescent wants to be thinner. Some of them want to have more muscle mass.
18. 78% of UK children want to learn more about body image in school.
Even though 23% of children claim that they’ve learned about maintaining a healthy body image in school, nearly 80% would like more education.
Kids commonly mention that they have friends with eating disorders, struggle with low self-esteem, or feel insecure about their skin, body shape, or weight. It’s essential to teach children that all bodies are unique.
19. Girls who play with Barbie dolls have more negative body image and a bigger desire to be thinner.
It’s important to highlight that roughly 1 in 100,000 women has a similar body to Barbie. Still, if Barbie was real, her body fat percentage would be so low that she wouldn’t be able to menstruate.
According to Barbie and body image statistics, girls who play with Barbie dolls are more likely to feel bad about their bodies than those who play with other types of dolls or no dolls at all.
20. Even children who are three years old can have problems with their body image.
Some studies have shown that children form opinions much earlier than we think, and it sounds almost unbelievable that girls aged three can believe that they’re fat.
Parents should be much more careful—talking about diets, losing weight, or skipping meals in front of their children, as they might behave the same way when they grow up.
21. 94% of teenage girls have been shamed because of the way their body looks.
(WCNC, Very Well Mind)
Unfortunately, bullying and body shaming are relatively common in schools. 94% of teen girls and 64% of teenage boys have experienced body shaming.
Adolescent body image statistics further suggest that body shaming can lead to eating disorders, body or muscle dysmorphia, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
We can’t control what we see on the Internet, as ads are all around, our page feed isn’t perfectly optimized, or the people we follow post things that make us feel insecure.
In the UK, 21% of adults said that images from ads made them worry about their body image, while 40% of teenagers worry because of the pictures they see on social media.
Social Media Effects on Body Image Statistics
23. 50% of American women feel better about their bodies after seeing a celebrity with a body similar to theirs.
We all know that celebrities can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves, but did you know that 50% of American women feel more positive about their bodies after seeing a celebrity with a similar physique?
And it makes sense. When you see someone you admire, who has the same body type as you, it shows you it’s possible to be happy in your own skin.
And if you’re anything like us, it makes you want to give them a high-five and say “Good job!” because they’re doing something amazing for women everywhere by being so open about their bodies and showing us what’s possible when we embrace our curves.
24. Nearly half of the American women feel pressured by society to look a certain way.
If you’re a woman, you’re probably feeling some societal pressure to look a certain way.
According to a new study, 46 percent of women say they feel pressured by society to meet a certain weight or shape standard.
Whew… that’s heavy! But we get it—it’s hard not to compare yourself to all the beautiful bodies out there. And it’s even harder when everyone else seems to be comparing themselves too!
But here’s the thing: You are more than your body shape. You’re more than what other people think of you—and if they don’t like what they see, well then they can just deal with it!
So next time you catch yourself feeling down about how your body looks or whether or not someone likes you because of it, remember: You are so much more than just your body!
25. Only 10% of American women believe that the media portrays women’s bodies in a realistic way.
It’s true—and it’s pretty sad. The fact is, we live in a world where most people are exposed to images of celebrities and models who have been photoshopped to look thinner and more perfect than they really are.
And even though many women are aware of how unrealistic those portrayals are, they still let them affect how they see themselves and their own bodies.
26. Three-quarters of UK female adults say that the media tries to promote an unrealistic body image for women.
According to YouGov’s extensive survey from 2021, 76% of UK women and 66% of men believe the media promotes unrealistic body image for women, which can cause many mental health issues.
Moreover, two in five British women under the age of 25 say they feel tremendous pressure to look a certain way.
We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, and suddenly you feel like your body is never going to be good enough. It’s not just women who are affected by the unrealistic body standards that social media has created—men are also affected.
In fact, 68% of American men believe social media has created an unrealistic standard for men’s bodies.
If you’re feeling like you’re not measuring up, don’t worry: You’re definitely not alone.
Now’s the time to talk about this stuff, because we all need to be more aware of what we’re seeing on social media and what it means for us as men. We can’t allow ourselves to be manipulated by images of unrealistic body types and false promises of success if we want to live happy and healthy lives.
Social media body image statistics point out that women are more prone to comparing themselves with what they see on social media. Still, men aren’t that far behind. While 87% of women compare themselves to what they see online, 65% of men do the same.
However, there still aren’t any preventative measures for this phenomenon.
29. 66% of girls state that online images make them feel insecure because they feel pressured to look the same way.
A staggering 78% of women feel insecure because everyone seems perfect in pictures they post online. The same social media and body image statistics further suggest that 60% of girls see those images as fake (various cosmetic procedures, usage of filters, edited photos, etc.), and 45% feel sad because they don’t look like people in the pictures they see online.
30. 1 in 10 men who go to the gym have muscle dysphoria.
Even though going to the gym should make people feel better about themselves, many go to the gym because of muscle dysphoria (also called bigorexia).
Men are under much greater pressure to look muscular, and those who have body dysmorphia tend to have low self-esteem and steroid abuse.
Other Noteworthy Body Image Facts and Statistics
31. Only 11% of Americans think that fashion companies have positively impacted people’s body image.
Just one in nine American survey respondents think that fashion companies have positively impacted people’s body image. Unfortunately, many people believe the opposite, especially women. In fact, 84% of females aged 25 to 39 think that fashion companies harm people’s perception of themselves. On the contrary, 74% of men in the same age group feel the same.
32. One in eight UK survey respondents has suicidal thoughts because of their body image.
Suicidal over body image statistics based on a UK survey shows that 4,500 respondents feel anxious or depressed about their body image. One in eight respondents thought about committing suicide because of their bodies.
Luckily, many people share their stories online to raise awareness about this issue.
33. 67% of those aged 16 to 34 have at least heard of the body positivity movement.
Not everyone thinks that the body positivity movement has a positive influence. Some people claim that it promotes obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, while others think it’s just about self-acceptance.
Statistics show that 50% of people aged 35 to 54 are familiar with this movement, while 22% of adults over 55 say the same.
34. Those with body dysmorphia are much more likely to have an eating disorder.
(NCBI, Hopkins Medicine)
Body dysmorphia is another form of negative body image, just a bit more extreme. Those who have a body dysmorphic disorder perceive their bodies in an entirely unrealistic way (e.g., considering themselves fat and they’re actually skinny).
Research shows that people with body dysmorphia are more likely to develop an eating disorder because they’re unhappy about their body image.
Related Questions (FAQ)
What is body image?
Body image is how a person thinks their body looks in their mind or how they see themselves in the mirror. It includes what they genuinely believe or assume about their appearance, how they feel about their bodies, and how they feel in it physically. Body image can be positive and negative.
What percent of teens are affected by body image?
Young people tend to be affected by negative body image the most. In fact, up to 61% of adolescents have experienced body dissatisfaction to some extent. For instance, one research reveals that 37% of teens feel upset, while 31% are ashamed of their body image.
How many people suffer because of their body image?
In the UK, 61% of adults feel very negative about their body image most of the time. Interestingly, men are more prone to having extreme feelings related to their body image. Also, 57% of people who don’t identify as a man or a woman think negatively about their body image most of the time.
What are the main influences on body image?
There are many different influences on our body image, but we can highlight some of them. For example, the media, discrimination, peers, family members, the fashion industry’s standards, illnesses, and accidents may lead to a negative body image.
Why do girls have body image issues?
Because girls (and boys, as well) are under peer pressure or social media influence, they are constantly told to lose weight, buy various diet products, and look a certain way. Furthermore, some girls live in households that value appearance the most. Also, if they were teased in childhood because of their appearance, they’re likely to develop body image issues.
How to help someone with body image issues?
The first thing you should do is be open about your concerns. Sometimes, people don’t even see a problem until others tell them about it. Also, set a positive example by practicing self-acceptance. All they need by their side is someone positive who will build them up and support them.
What percent of men struggle with body image?
According to a study, 15% of many men and 20% of women are very dissatisfied with their weight. Of course, this number is undoubtedly much higher for all types of dissatisfaction. Still, the same body image statistics reveal that more extroverted people are satisfied and open struggle less.
Body Image Statistics – Key Takeaways
It’s time to wrap up!
We know that the topic of body image is a sensitive one, but we also know that it’s one that needs to be discussed more than ever.
We hope that you found this information useful and inspiring. Next time you find yourself in a conversation about body image, or even just thinking about your own body image, please keep these statistics in mind.
Remember: there are more than enough of us out there—and we’re ready to help! If you don’t feel like you fit into the “norms” of society, don’t let that stop you from pursuing your goals and dreams. You are beautiful, and your beauty is a gift to the world.
But before we go, we want to leave you with one final thought:
No matter where you are in your journey towards body positivity, remember that you are more than just your body. You are more than the way you look or feel about yourself; you are a human being with thoughts and feelings and emotions and dreams and desires. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness no matter what size clothing you wear or how much or little you weigh. You deserve to live a life where your body is not constantly under scrutiny by strangers who have no idea who you really are or what they could learn from getting to know the real person behind all those numbers on a scale.
You deserve this, too: A life where people do not make judgments based on appearances alone but also take time to get to know each other as people instead of just as bodies. A life where women (and men) do not feel pressured into having certain types of bodies because society tells us that those bodies are acceptable—or worse yet, desirable—when really our bodies should be celebrated for being unique individuals with their own unique qualities!
So go out there and be kinder! And please remember: this isn’t just about body image—it’s about how we treat each other every day.
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