We must hunt out the root causes for body anxiety

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There’s bound to be some who will raise an eyebrow or even a wry smile at the fact that Caroline Dinenage is to investigate the topic of body image.

The Gosport MP was of course embroiled in her own pre-election controversy when an image used in her campaign was airbrushed without her knowledge.

As she points out now, the fact that the appearance of her teeth and skin were altered almost as a matter of course, demonstrates how common this technique has become.

So perhaps she’s the ideal person to take part in an inquiry that sets out to examine whether the beauty industry promotes body image anxiety through its use of altered images.

It’s certainly worth investigating whether our pursuit of perfection has had a negative impact on how people view their own appearance.

If low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders really are on the rise, we must hunt out the root causes and take whatever action is necessary.

Our young people in particular come under extreme pressure to look a certain way, or achieve a particular body shape or size.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting healthy living but when that veers into the realms of the unrealistic, society as a whole has moved into dangerous territory.

We hope that the all-party parliamentary group set up to delve deeper into this issue gets the co-operation it requires from all those involved.

Mrs Dinenage says that much progress has already been made and welcomes the input of those who work within the diet and cosmetic surgery industries.

In order for the inquiry to mean anything, they’ll need to do more than just gloss over how they see things.

There needs to be a real commitment now to identifying what is and is not acceptable before some clear boundaries can be set.

It’s in all our interests to move towards a society where positive body image is promoted.

There’s no reason at all why that can’t become a reality – even if that means we start to impose some guidelines for advertisers and photographers in future.