According to a recent Associated Press-iVillage poll, more than half of American women expressed negative feelings about their weight (53%), with a similar number (48%) sharing negative feelings about their figure and physique (48%). Surprisingly, however, there is a major contradiction between perception and reality, with 26 percent of those women who are unhappy with their weight actually having a normal weight level in line with the government’s standards of body mass index (BMI).

When it comes to eating habits, the survey found that just 8 percent of women get the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, with 28 percent admitting that they get that suggested serving only once a week or less. The poll also found that nearly a quarter (24%) of American women claim they are currently on a diet, including 30 percent that would be considered overweight or obese by their BMI. Still, about 1 in 7 women (16%) who are at a normal BMI say they are actively dieting as well — with the goal of losing weight.

Continuing the sharp contrast between what American women say and what they do, the results show a disconnect when it comes to making fitness a priority. The survey found that on average, females spend 27 minutes a day on their beauty regimen, in comparison to 20 minutes on their exercise routine. They also spend more money on beauty items and services than on fitness activities, services and equipment ($50 per month vs. $17 per month).

In addition, when asked about whether they have considered elective cosmetic or plastic surgery, 25 percent say they have thought about going under the knife to improve their looks, with the most popular body parts in question being the stomach (73%), breasts (55%), eyes (38%) and face (38%). Fewer are inclined to turn to dermatological treatments like Botox or a chemical skin peel to enhance their skin (16%).

Responding to the contradictions uncovered in the AP-iVillage Poll, iVillage has launched a special week-long event called “Health Is Beautiful,” coinciding with the 10th anniversary of National Women’s Health Week (May 10 – 16, 2009), which is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. The “Health Is Beautiful” online program is designed to help women focus on their own health and well-being, starting with the basics of a solid fitness, health and wellness routine. This comprehensive package is aligned with a just-announced corporate health commitment across NBC Universal, as well as parent company General Electric’s “Healthymagination” initiative. More information is located at:

*Methodology –The AP-iVillage poll was conducted April 20-30, 2009 and involved online interviews with 1,000 adult women nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The poll was conducted over the Internet by Knowledge Networks, which initially contacted people using traditional telephone and mail polling methods and followed with online interviews. Knowledge Networks provided Internet access to those people chosen for the study who did not already have it.

About iVillage Networks:
iVillage Networks is part of NBC Universal’s Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, a powerful combination of media assets that additionally include Bravo Media, “Green is Universal,” and Oxygen Media, and Women@NBCU, a female targeted sales and marketing initiative.

iVillage Networks is the first and most established media company dedicated exclusively to connecting women at every stage of their lives. (, the leading online community for women, offers an authentic and robust community infused with compelling content from experts on health, parenting, pregnancy, beauty, style, fitness, relationships, food and entertainment. The site’s interactive features include thousands of message boards, which allow women around the world to connect, share ideas, and seek advice and support about everything from fertility to fashion. Additional businesses and brand extensions within the iVillage Networks include iVillage UK, NBC Digital Health Network and the wholly-owned sites and GardenWeb. The Company, acquired by NBC Universal, Inc. in May 2006, is based in New York City.

About The AP:
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.


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