'Pressured' girls call for help

MORE teenage girls than ever before are feeling so pressured about their bodies they are turning to the Samaritans, it was revealed today.The news comes as a national survey of 2,000 girls, with an average age of 14, reveals increasing pressure to live up to the perfect body images of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears.

MORE teenage girls than ever before are feeling so pressured about their bodies they are turning to the Samaritans, it was revealed today.

The news comes as a national survey of 2,000 girls, with an average age of 14, reveals increasing pressure to live up to the perfect body images of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears.

The survey, produced by a national teenage girl's magazine, stated only eight per cent of girls in the country were happy with their figure.

The Teen Body Image Survey 2005, by Bliss magazine, also stated that 68 per cent of teenage girls think their faces are unattractive and feel pressure to look slimmer and have a better body shape.

According to the survey, in East Anglia 25 per cent of girls rated themselves as unattractive and the region had the highest amount of girls who are were unhappy with their bums at 62pc.

Two thirds of those girls asked (67pc) said the pressure to be slimmer and have a better body shape came primarily from pictures of celebrities

Most Read

Perhaps most alarmingly four out of ten (41pc) of young teenage girls said they had already considered plastic surgery.

The director of Samaritans in Ipswich said the pressure on young girls to look thinner is becoming too great.

She said the stress is leading to problems such as eating disorders.

Jane Key, director of Samaritans in Ipswich, said: "We have a lot of teenage girls contact us these days to tell us they feel unhappy with the way they look.

"Many of them have eating disorders or self harm themselves because they are desperate to change.

"Eating disorders and self harming seem to be on the increase which would give the impression that more girls are unhappy with their appearance.

"The stigma that goes with these problems seems to have been lost now and people are able to talk about them more now."

Ms Key said more teenagers were contacting the Samaritans now than ever before and says the increase is likely to be because they can now use the Internet to get in touch.

Are you a teenager feeling under too much pressure to look like celebrities? Are you a parent with an opinion? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk