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Good Body Image, Happier Relationship

Survey finds that women who diet are less satisfied with themselves
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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are happy with their bodies are better able to maintain a happy relationship, a new study finds.

The researchers' survey also found that women who are satisfied with their current relationship tend to be fine with their weight and body image.

The link between relationship satisfaction and one's body image is strong and works both ways, said study author Sabina Vatter, a postgraduate student at Tallinn University in Estonia.

"When a woman was satisfied with her relationship, she was also satisfied with her body weight, which also applies vice versa," Vatter said. "Higher body-weight satisfaction results in higher satisfaction with a relationship.

"This shows that body and body weight can create general satisfaction, which would be forwarded to feelings for a romantic partner," she said.

The results -- based on a poll of about 250 women -- were scheduled for presentation Friday at a meeting of the British Psychological Society, in York, England.

Women who had previously dieted or were currently on a diet were more likely to be unhappy with their weight and more self-conscious regarding their bodies, the study found.

"Women who have dieted had more extreme standards of appearance," Vatter said. "Even a normal weight would seem unattractive for them. They were further from their ideal appearance due to their excessive weight, and they were more attentive and aware of their body shape."

"Hence, they noticed more the difference between their present body weight and their ideal weight," she said.

In her survey, Vatter focused on women between 20 and 45 years old who were currently in a relationship. About 71 percent of the women surveyed were living with their partner, and 29 percent were married.

The women were asked about their relationship satisfaction, their sexual intimacy, their self-image and their self-esteem.

The women most critical of their bodies were less happy in their relationships, Vatter found.

"They had lower self-esteem and they were less satisfied with their sexual intimacy," Vatter said. "In order to feel good and happy in a relationship, one should have positive feelings toward their body and feel comfortable in their body, because without this a woman might feel dissatisfaction toward the relationship."

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