Dr Martin Donohoe MD FACP has researched the body image problem that is ubiquitous throughout western civilisation. He has uncovered some interesting statistics.
From the article:
As many as 66% of women and 52% of men have reported feelings of dissatisfaction or inadequacy regarding their body weight. Sixty percent of girls in grades 9-12 are trying to lose weight, compared with 24% of boys. The number-one wish of girls aged 11-17 is to lose weight. Women are more likely to judge themselves as overweight when they are not, whereas men are the opposite. Women who desire to lose weight are more likely to do so in the hopes of improving their appearance, whereas men who wish to lose weight are more likely to be concerned about their future health and fitness.
Body-image distress is now classified as a psychological disorder. Five percent to 10% of females have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Male and female high school athletes are especially at risk for unhealthy weight-control behaviours, such as restricting food intake, vomiting, over-exercising, using diet pills, inappropriately taking prescribed stimulants or insulin, and using nicotine. Some adolescents dehydrate by restricting fluid intake, spitting, wearing rubber suits, taking daily steam baths and/or saunas, and using diuretics or laxatives.
Consequences of abnormal weight-loss behaviours include delayed maturation, impaired growth, menstrual irregularities or loss of menses, increased rates of infection, eating disorders, and depression. Alternatively, such behaviours can be a sign of depression or verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.[9,10]
Media images have contributed to a misguided perception of the "ideal" body. Today, models weigh 23% less than average women; in 1986 it was only 8%. Modelling schools for teens create unrealistic expectations. Only a very "select" few models achieve financial success (of these select few, beginners earn $1500 per day, those in the top tier $25,000 per day, and supermodels $100,000 or even more per day).