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The Fitness Body Image Poll

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How you really feel about flat abs, a prominent butt, and weight loss -- and the price you'd pay never to have to think about any of it again.
Jobless or Fat?

A national survey conducted for Fitness magazine by ICR/International Communications Research reveals that men and women would go to surprising lengths to have good bodies. The survey of 1007 women and men found that over half of them would rather lose their jobs than be overweight, and a significant number of men (17 percent) and women (11 percent) said they would give up 20 IQ points to achieve a perfect body.

"We know that women have a complex relationship with their bodies, but we wanted to see how deeply those feelings went and how they compare with men's body issues" said Fitness Executive Editor Liz Vaccariello. "I was surprised to learn what men and women would sacrifice to attain the 'perfect body.' Ultimately, we wanted to highlight that being healthy and happy is eminently more important than how tight your abs are."

Pay or Weigh

More than half of women (58 percent) and men (54 percent) would rather lose their jobs than gain 75 pounds.

We Don't Want to Talk About It

Given the choice of weighing themselves or revealing their salary to a roomful of colleagues, 73 percent of men would hop right on the scale. Only 47 percent of women would.

Lean Pockets

Sixty-three percent of women would rather be poor and have no weight to lose than be rich but significantly overweight. Only 55 percent of men felt the same way.

Abs Above All

Both women and men name abs as the body part they most want to change.

  • 48 percent for men, 36 percent for women chose abs above all.
  • It's almost three times more than any other trouble zone.

It's Like Pulling Teeth

More than a quarter of women said that they would rather get their wisdom teeth pulled than go swimsuit shopping. Hey, at least we can get painkillers in the dentist's chair.

Not Tonight, Honey

We asked men and women: "Have you ever avoided sex because you felt 'too fat'?"

  • Nine out of 10 men said never.
  • For 20 percent of women, it's been an issue.

Thankfully, You're Still Confident Enough to...

  • Work out
  • Go on a date
  • Attend a reunion

...regardless of your weight!

The Body of Your Dreams

Nearly one out of five of us says that curvalicious Jennifer Lopez has an ideal physique.

Butt, Seriously

Twice as many women as men are happy with their butt.

Flattery Shmattery

When asked, "If a man says he likes your body, do you believe him?"

  • 52 percent of us said yes.
  • Most others (36 percent) think he's just being nice.

Body or Brains

Would you lose 20 IQ points for the perfect body?

  • Scarily, 7 percent of men and 5 percent of women said they would "in an instant."
  • The good news is that 75 percent of men and 80 percent of women said "Never -- my brain is more important than my body."

Originally published in Fitness magazine, June 2006.


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