A campaigning MP has called on the Prime Minister to take action to tackle the scourge of digitally enhanced photos as the prospect of summer sun and beach holidays for some risks affecting the mental health of vulnerable young people.
Dr Luke Evans, the Member of Parliament for Bosworth in Leicestershire asked the Prime Minister during this week’s Prime Minister's Questions if he would back the calls of the Women & Equalities Select Committee for regulation of “doctored photos promoting unachievable body images” that are having an impact on mental health.
Dr Evans, who has previously tabled a private members billing calling for legislation to tackle the issue asked Mr Johnson if he would consider “all options including labelling digitally altered images” to help deal with the rise in body image issues like anorexia and steroid abuse.
The Prime Minister replied “...my honourable friend is raising a very important point and I think that he and the whole House are aware of the pressure that young people in particular can feel as a result of doctored images and as part of the consultation on the online advertising programme we will look at what we can do. I know that we will be responding to the select committee’s report in due course.”
Dr Evans said “As a GP I regularly met patients, both women and men, who had seen photographs of celebrities that had been digitally altered and which showed body types that were simply impossible to achieve. All too often trying to replicate those unattainable bodies led to mental health issues.
"We know that there are 1.25 million people with eating disorders and over 1 million people using steroids, they are mainly young people and during lockdown the problem has only got worse."
“As summer comes we will see more and more beach body photos that have been doctored. We need to take swift action to tackle what is becoming an increasingly serious problem.”