Help tackle a 21st century epidemic with body image questionnaire

Thinspiration is a word that I am sure many women of my age are all too familiar with.

It seems to be everywhere; social networking sites that promote image sharing such as Tumblr or Instagram are particularly notorious for it – it is impossible to escape.

For years now, people have been comparing themselves with celebrities and models in the media, often aspiring to be in possession of a figure like theirs.

With the nation's dress size an average of 16, should major brands such as Superdry or Hollister really be selling clothes that are the equivalent to a size 14 as an XL?

And since when have so-called 'plus size' models been a size 12?

Despite campaigns by the likes of many, such as the late model Isabella Caro, who tirelessly attempted to battle the influences that caused her own eating disorder, anorexia and bulimia are at an all-time high.

Leafing through magazines and tabloids, it is hard to come across headlines these days that are not weight related.

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Everybody seems to talk about their body image, whether it is wanting a toned bikini body for their holidays or yearning to fit into a smaller dress size.

But often, even when the original goal weight is achieved, that still isn't enough and people find themselves setting further targets – often unrealistic ones.

With this obsession with shape, it is hardly surprising that children as young as six are beginning to be affected.

I think a major influence on beginning my project would be overhearing my little sister, who is not yet even eight years old, complaining to my mother in the kitchen. She said: 'Mummy, my tummy is too big.'

I believe that something should be done to prevent this and that people should be more educated about a healthy body image to tackle those airbrushed and underweight examples that are thrown under our noses.

I have created a questionnaire – on the facing page – regarding this issue, which includes questions mainly about body image and your perception of yourself.

It would be really useful if I could get as many responses as possible.

I also plan to create a hard-hitting video, which will be thought-provoking and, I hope, influential. If you wouldn't mind participating, please fill in the survey - on the related links section at the top of the page - and send it to: Image Questionnaire, Dereham and Fakenham Times, Bond House, High Street, Dereham, NR19 1DZ, to arrive by Thursday, August 16.