A recent survey shows that people are more than happy with their bodies: In fact, more than 60 percent of men and women surveyed think that they are better looking than average. And this is despite an obesity epidemic contradicting impossibly thin standards of beauty in the media. As Msnbc.com reports, most Americans think they are “hot stuff” in a UCLA/Cal State, Los Angeles survey.
In an online survey that considered nearly 26,000 msnbc.com and ELLE.com readers, ranging in age from 18 to 75, around 60 percent of readers said they were significantly satisfied by the way they look.
At the same time, many also admitted they did not have “ideal” body shapes. Further, 62 percent of women felt compelled by the media to have a more “attractive” body, while only 29 percent of men felt the same. And under 30s felt the best about their bodies — 28 percent of women and 30 percent of men found themselves to be between an 8 and a 10 on the “hotness” scale.
At the same time, people are starting to become more aware of techniques such as air brushing employed with images of beauty in the media. A recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that young girls compare their bodies less to images they see in magazine and television and more to their schoolmates. Gail Saltz is a New York City psychiatrist and regular TODAY contributor. As she told Msnbc.com, “Most people aren’t of that, ‘Oh my god, I have to be a size 2 or I look terrible!’ (mindset). Most people look … and see who’s around them. And most of the people around them aren’t models.”
At the same time, Americans are also more concerned with having a fit body than a thin one. More than 44 percent of women expressed concerned with muscle tone. Thirty-one percent of men did the same.
Experts point out that sometimes people’s body image can be too good, hindering their overall health. As Dr. Saltz continues, “You can have anorexia, which is seeing yourself as fatter than you are. But you certainly can have a distorted body image in any way. There are probably quite a few people like this, who think they look sexy, curvy, but are really over the weight limit of healthy weight.”
Obesity rates have only recently leveled off, according to the Center for Disease Control. Nearly 34 percent of American adults are obese, while 17 percent of children fit the same category. And while this rate of obesity has reached a plateau, experts are not willing to declare victory until they see it start to drop.
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