by Colin McIntosh
The pressure to achieve the perfect body shape is greater than ever before, for men no less than women. At the same time, rates of obesity are at their highest level ever. These two related facts are reflected in some new additions to the Cambridge English Dictionary. Much of the vocabulary relates to our bodies and how we see them.
An objective measure of how overweight or otherwise we are is given by the BMI or body mass index: a measurement of our weight in relation to our height. But the way we see our bodies ourselves is very often not objective: we may have a body image that is very different from the way other people see us, with the result that we become irrationally unhappy with our appearance. This condition is called dysmorphia, and can lead to body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness in which a person spends a lot of time worrying about how he or she looks and wrongly believes there are problems with his or her appearance. We look in the mirror and we see something very different from the actual image that is reflected back at us. Read the rest of this entry ?