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British women more worried about their looks than their health

One in three British women are more worried about their looks than their health, according to new research.

The study revealed that women are more prepared to spend money on products which give the impression they are healthy - rather than healthy products.

It also emerged that almost 35% admitted to crash-dieting and another 10% said they had resorted to laxatives to fit in to the latest fashions. Eight percent said they ended up suffering from an eating disorder to look their best for a night out.

Dr Ian Campbell, leading obesity expert and Medical Director of charity Weight Concern, said: "This is very concerning, especially as there is increasing evidence that lifestyles with poor eating habits and little exercise can lead to high levels of 'hidden' fat around the organs - although the individual may appear slim."

The poll of 3,000 women also revealed half automatically assume that someone who is overweight is unhealthy, while 16% think slim women are the picture of health.

The survey also revealed that a staggering 72% of women would prefer to live life to the full rather than worrying about the consequences it has on their health. Despite this 64% admit that it worries them that they can't see what is happening inside their bodies - and 12% have had a serious health scare, despite looking completely healthy on the outside.

Dr Ian Campbell concluded: "As a practicing GP, it alarms me that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed automatically knew their partner's star sign but only one in 10 had a clue about their loved-one's body weight.

"The dangers of obesity-related illness really should be more important than horoscopes, especially when there are so many readily available ways to check our inner health."

The study was carried out by home health monitors brand Tanita.