Body image improves as we grow older

Positive body image increases as people get older, new research has suggested. Carried out by Our Time, an online dating community for over-50s, the study revealed 70 per cent of survey respondents - taken from its pool of members - are currently happier with their shape than they were in their younger years.

In addition, the poll also showed 90 per cent of those questioned are comfortable with their body and confident when it comes to sex.

Dr Gail Saltz, relationship expert and Psychiatrist for the website, said: "As these survey results show, 50-plus singles are more comfortable in their own skin than ever before and are enjoying themselves fully at this point in life."

It was also demonstrated that 97 per cent of those quizzed believe an active sexual relationship can be beneficial for their health.

The findings come after Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone recently launched an educational pack - as part of the government's Body Confidence campaign - to teach young people about issues regarding their figure.

Dr Susan Marchant-Haycox is a Chartered Psychologist, commented: "It's not surprising that research shows that many over-50s have a positive body image. 

"However, this data comes from a online dating community and as such, it's possible that these individuals are more confident about their looks in general and are in better shape than those in the same age range than the general population. 

"Being in good shape is bound to be a great boost to people's self-confidence and therefore lead to better sex as the body is more flexible and sexual inhibitions are fewer than those with a poor body image.

"Teenagers today are encountering various problems concerning their body image and their sexuality – mainly because of this fixation of being the 'right' size. The media often encourages these feelings of insecurity. It could also be one of the reasons why there is a rise in eating disorders per se and cosmetic surgery. But in the 50+ population the pressure to be a small dress size is not so important.

"Remember, happiness is not down to having a good body image alone more factors have to be considered - but it helps in the long run."