Fast-Shrinking Teen Queens Influence Young Girls

ByABC News via via logo

May 13, 2005 — -- The pressure to be thin in Hollywood has been passed down to the new generation of young celebs -- and their fans. A Teen People magazine survey shows teens across the country continue to measure themselves against the people they see in movies, on TV and in magazines.

The body image survey takes an in-depth look at how adolescent girls see themselves and identifies what influences their self-images. Of the 1,553 teens ages 13-18 surveyed, 58 percent said women on TV and in movies, as well as the women portrayed in fashion magazines, cause them the most insecurity about their bodies. More than half the girls believe they weigh too much, while the vast majority say they would change something about their bodies, most of them, their stomachs.

New photos of super-skinny teen movie queen Lindsay Lohan and TV's "The Simple Life" star Nicole Richie are raising concerns not only over the health of these young women, but the message they are sending to their fans.

The survey also reported that one in three teen girls has been urged by her parents to change her weight, mainly to lose it.

Some positive news reflected in the poll; most young women have never taken an over-the-counter diet pill, or purged after eating, and 75 percent say they would never consider plastic surgery.

Dr. Carol Wiseman, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the Yale School of Medicine, has tips for parents on how to spot a potentially dangerous body image that could lead to problems later on:

Wiseman also suggests parents tell their children they look good exactly as they are, and encourage them to get involved in sports and other activities that do not focus on their physical appearances.

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