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Old August 12th, 2007, 10:11 PM  
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Name: Stephen
Join Date: February 17, 2007
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Default Quarter of girls 'want plastic surgery'

Quarter of girls 'want plastic surgery'
Monday Aug 13 08:00 AEST

A quarter of teenage girls in Australia say they would get plastic surgery if they could, and two per cent have already gone under the knife, a survey has revealed.

A new study of drug, sex and surgery trends among 4,000 girls aged 11 to 18 has found most are unhappy with their bodies in general - and their weight in particular.

Almost 60 per cent wanted to be lighter on the scales, and 45 per cent said they knew someone with an eating disorder, according to the report published on Monday in the teenage magazine Dolly.

Dr Jenny O'Dea, associate professor of child and adolescent health at the University of Sydney, said while this figure may appear small, it was actually very significant.

"That's 80 girls in the 4,000 questioned who had had some kind of procedure, and that's concerning," said Dr O'Dea, who speculated that these would most likely be "boob jobs".

"I think the whole trend towards plastic surgery is very worrying because there's a big myth that it can actually build true self esteem.

"In the long term, what makes teenage girls really happy are their friends, their relationships and what they do with their lives - nothing to do with how they look."

She said many of these girls would carry their worrying self-image issues into adulthood and would instil these same messages in their own children.

"That is why more needs to be done to try to break this cycle," Dr O'Dea said.

The survey also gives a picture of drug use, showing that three per cent have tried the party drug ice, five per cent had swallowed an ecstasy pill and 13 per cent have smoked marijuana. Only 13 per cent admitted smoking cigarettes.

Meanwhile, about half said they drink alcohol, with one in five confessing to having done something they regret while they were drunk.

When it comes to relationships, almost one in four teen girls were sexually active.

Worryingly, over one third of these sexually active girls said they didn't use condoms, but it was unclear whether they used other forms of protection, like the contraceptive pill.

Global issues, like terrorism and the environment, were a concern for 78 per cent of the sample, while 85 per cent worried about achieving at school. Peer pressures were also a reality for many, with 70 per cent of girls confessing they had been bullied.

Bronwyn McCahon, editor of Dolly, said while it was an exciting time to be a teen "there's no doubt the challenges facing young girls today are greater than ever."

©AAP 2007
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