The 'size zero' debate rose and fell, with no results to speak of yet. Because a new study has found that, thanks to repetitive viewing of airbrushed photos of skinny models and pop stars, girls as young as five are becoming depressed.
The study by leading doctors, psychologists and academics has sparked fresh calls for a ban on the "size zero" cult in ads.
AdvertisementOne outraged MP declared that advertising watchdogs "now have all the scientific evidence" they need to crack down on stick-thin women being used to plug clothes and cosmetics.
The study by 44 experts worldwide comes just weeks after uproar over an airbrushed photo for Ralph Lauren of curvy model Filippa Hamilton - with her waist so tiny it made her head look huge.
Hamilton, 23, who is a size eight, claimed she was sacked, as she was deemed too fat.
"Young women will look at this and think it's normal, and it's not," the Sun quoted her as saying.
The report confirms a "clear majority" of girls exposed to such ads by teen magazines suffer "increased body dissatisfaction, dieting and bulimic symptoms".
Experts found that much younger girls were affected, and have warned that even tiny-waisted Barbie could affect them.
"Girls aged 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 reported less body esteem and greater desire for a thinner body after exposure to images or thin dolls (Barbie)," their report stated.
The medics, who also warned that boys are being driven to take steroids by images of musclebound idols, back a Lib Dem campaign to ban airbrushed snaps in magazines for under-16s.
Digitally manipulated photos in other ads would have to carry a warning that they have been retouched.
Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson said the size zero backlash had sparked almost 1,000 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority this year.
"Airbrushing means women and young girls are being bombarded with images of people with perfect skin, perfect hair and perfect figures which are impossible to live up to," Swinson stated.
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