The poll, carried out by fashion retailer Marisota, was part of a "Size Wise: Know Your Body Shape" campaign aimed at helping women to realise their real body size. To participate, women were shown a sliding scale containing images of women at different sizes, from 8 to 26, and asked to choose which image they felt was closest to their own size. Women were then asked for their measurements, as well as a few details on their body image, and were shown where on the scale their size actually put them.
Of the 31,000 women who took part in the online poll, almost all had a significantly inaccurate perception of their body size. Women who placed themselves at around size 14 and up were 70 per cent more likely to overestimate their own size, while those who thought they were size 8 were more likely to underestimate - suggesting that many women see themselves at either end of the scale rather than in the average zone.
Women were also asked to rate their body confidence out of ten, with low results across the board: Northumberland's average score topped the charts with just 5.2, with Pembrokeshire and Greater London pulling in just behind. While Rutland in the Midlands showed the lowest levels of body confidence with an average rating of 4.0.
It's not all bad news, however; the results also suggested that those who were on either end of the sliding scale - the groups actually sized 8-10 and 26-28 - were far more accurate in selecting the visual representation of their own size. While this could imply that these groups spend more time thinking about their size, it also signifies a greater understanding of their own bodies - and the confidence rating saw a spiked increase in women between sizes 20-22.
Simon Haughton, Brand Manager at Marisota commented: "We're absolutely thrilled that so many women took part in the survey. The results provide an insight into the low levels of body confidence among women in the UK and are crucial in understanding how women feel about their bodies.
"As a clothing retailer and fashion experts we have a responsibility to make sure that women feel confident, without creating undue pressure to look or dress a certain way, and although these results are surprising we feel positive that these attitudes can change.
"Everything at Marisota is designed with shape in mind and through Shapeology which is a combination of clever detailing and design we give women a CanWear attitude. There's also a wealth of fashion bloggers out there working hard to represent women of all measurements and body shapes - and it's that kind of dedication that will change the way women perceive their own bodies."
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