An increasing number of women in Canada are worried about their weight. According to a major survey conducted across Canada, even the ones that have a normal weight worry that they are not thin enough.
The Ipso Reid surveyed 3,000 women of all ages, sizes and demographics to show they are struggling with serious issues when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
The survey commissioned by Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada, shows 80 per cent of women want to lose weight, and that 56 per cent of the women who now have a normal, healthy weight want to lose more.
And it isn't just the teenage women who are worrying about the weight. Women of all ages and from all walks of life have this weight fixation. It is noteworthy that the average age of the 3,000 women surveyed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada was 47.
About 58 per cent of the women who were interviewed said they feel pressure from society in general to be thin, while 52 per cent said they were confused by contradictory news reports on healthy living and eating habits. Media images highlighting thin, emaciated women as being "normal" are part of the problem, according to dieticians.
Lee Finnell, a nutritional educator with Alberta Milk "isn't surprised by the findings." She observed that when she was in private practice, almost every woman who came to her wanted to lose weight, including those of healthy weight.
Prominent advertisements featuring slim women snacking on fatty foods further adds to the confusion.
"Women have no idea anymore of what a healthy body weight is," says Finnell.
"Back in the days of our mothers, Marilyn Monroe was the ideal -- a curvaceous woman of normal weight. When that was the ideal, women didn't have this terrible obsession they have now about being thin," she says.
According to the IPSOS Reid survey 42 per cent of women wanted to lose weight to improve their health while 41 per cent wanted to lose weight to improve their self-esteem. But when the survey explored secondary reasons, improving self-esteem ranked as the highest motivator with 86 per cent compared to health, with 76 per cent.
"All women should try to look at themselves and all of their attributes, whether they've got a great career, or a wonderful family or they're a great mother," Finnell says. "There are some pretty great things women are doing out there that have nothing to do with weight."
Instead of being their own toughest critics, women should see their positive side and try not to be obsessed into worrying if they are thin enough like the pin-up girls, advise health experts.