Body Image and Mental Health

Part of Exiting the European Union (Transport) – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 2:17 pm, 23rd July 2019

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered body image and mental health.

I am delighted to open this debate on this very important matter about which a number of parliamentary colleagues are showing increasing concern. How we think and feel about our bodies can affect any one of us at any point in our lives. I am sure I am not alone in not liking my body shape and in wanting to lose more weight. Frankly, we know there is no magic route to that. We just need to eat less and drink more—[Laughter.] I should say: eat less, drink less and exercise more. Too often, however, people are seduced into seeking body shapes that are less than attainable. While for most of us that is an aspiration, for some people it becomes uncomfortable and an obsession that does them no good.

This is a particular issue today, because the pressure on people, especially young people, to achieve an idealised image is everywhere. Often, the images that people are being subjected to are unattainable because those images have been airbrushed and touched up. Those shapes are really not what any normal person could begin to achieve.