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Perceptions of body image among working men and women
  1. C Emslie,
  2. K Hunt,
  3. S Macintyre
  1. MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK
  1. Dr Emslie (ecarol{at}

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The British Government has expressed concern about media images that equate female beauty with extreme thinness. In 2000 the Minister for Women, Tessa Jowell, held a series of meetings with representatives from modelling agencies and teenage magazines to discuss possible links between the use of thin models in the fashion industry, and mental health and eating disorders among girls and women.

Given that lay definitions of overweight may be different from medical definitions,1 it is important to explore whether people's perceptions of their weight differ from “objective” measurements such as body mass index (BMI). A concern with thinness is often seen as a woman only problem. Is this true?

Methods and Results

Postal questionnaires were sent to employees working full time within a British bank in clerical, supervisory and management jobs and to full time clerical, technical and academic employees in a British university. The response rate was 76% …

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  • Funding: this work was funded via an MRC studentship to Carol Emslie. The authors are all employed by the UK Medical Research Council.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.