It's not surprising that constant exposure to airbrushed images of models and paparazzi shots of stick-thin celebrities in the media, have been proven to lead to low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders among women who feel the pressure to conform to an unrealistic standard of beauty.
And nowhere is that pressure felt more acutely than in the celebrity world itself. But that's not to say all our favourite female stars are in agreement with this prescribed notion of beauty. Not every woman in the public eye wants to be a size-zero.
In fact, a growing number of female celebrities are making a stand to promote a positive body image among women and celebrating their natural curves.
Click through our slideshow to find out what the stars really think about the body image debate. You might be surprised to find out which women are fighting the super-skinny culture that surrounds them and heralding a healthy body image.
The tennis star has always been a staunch advocate of women having a healthy body image: “I want women to know that it’s okay. That you can be whatever size you are and you can be beautiful inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful, and what’s not, and that’s not right.” This month the sports star is the cover girl for <em>Essence</em> magazine's 'Body Issue'. She said in an interview for the magazine: "Before it was, 'Serena has a big butt,' and that was all," Serena told Essence. "Now there are way more people who feel comfortable with themselves and they're saying, 'I'm a woman, and this is what I look like.' I always say, 'We're popular now! We're finally in style!' "
The perfect 'body confidence' role model for teenage girls and young women, Adele is living proof you don't need to fit the conventional ideals of the body beautiful to make a hugely successful career as a pop diva. Here the voluptuous singer talks about <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvLN8buEgpM" target="_blank">why she has no interest in looking like the stereotypical magazine cover girl</a> (and how they don't look like that in real life, anyway!).
Kate Winslet is one of the few A-list stars that has never succumbed to the pressure to conform to the Hollywood ideal of beauty. All those Academy Awards and not once has she starved herself to squeeze into a XS frock - and the actress is all the more beautiful for it. In an interview with <em>Vanity Fair</em> magazine, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/kate-winslet-vanity-fair-italia-cover_n_1555791.html" target="_blank">Winslet expressed her dismay that 'the body issue' is still even worthy of comment</a>: "I'm bored of what it means that we are still here talking about it. It means that nothing has changed. Otherwise, no, I believe it is important to go on insisting that normality is not what we are exposed to. "Honestly, among my acquaintances there is no woman wearing XS. No, sorry, there is one: my daughter. The point is that Mia is 11 years old."
Making a stand to promote positive body image among her female fans, Beyoncé chose to go 'au naturel' (read: no retouching) for her <a href="http://www.hellomagazine.com/fashion/2013053112848/beyonce-natural-body-h-and-m-campaign/" target="_blank">latest ad campaign for H&M</a>. Mind you, who needs retouching when you look that good in the flesh? But you have to hand it to Bey for doing what so few of her fellow stars have dared to do. The singer famously wrote <em>Bootylicious</em> as a celebration of the female form - curves and all: “I wrote ‘Bootylicious’ because, at the time, I'd gained some weight and the pressure that people put you under, the pressure to be thin, is unbelievable. I was just 18 and you shouldn't be thinking about that. "You should be thinking about building up your character and having fun and the song was just telling everyone just forget what people are saying, you're bootylicious. That's all. It's a celebration of curves and a celebration of women's bodies.”
The 31-year-old star has made the decision to grow old gracefully and embrace her ever-changing body. She said in an interview in June : "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/christina-aguilera-body-i-embrace-my-body_n_1973361.html" target="_blank">I embrace my body, and I embrace everything about myself</a>. Coming full circle is a celebration of freedom and happiness because that's what [my new album] 'Lotus' is representing. I'm embracing everything that I've grown to be and learned to be."
Lady Gaga has admitted she has the same hang-ups as any other young woman. She said: "When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, 'You're Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.'" In 2012, the provocative star came under fire after she appeared on stage in Amsterdam looking like she had gained a few pounds. Not one to shy away from confrontation, she responded to the criticism by posting a picture of herself on her <a href="https://littlemonsters.com/" target="_blank">Little Monsters</a> website, wearing a bikini, with the stark caption, 'Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15'. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/26/lady-gaga-launches-body-revolution-little-monsterscelebrate-perceived-flaws-_n_1916192.html" target="_blank">The singer invited fans to celebrate their perceived flaws by joining "A Body Revolution 2013" by posting pictures of themselves.</a> Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, founded the <a href="http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Born This Way Foundation</a> in 2011 to "foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated."
It's always refreshing when the star of the moment is a woman who eschews the social conventions and trappings of being a woman in the limelight. Natural beauty, Olivia Colman, is not the kind of woman we expect to see appearing on the red carpet, a shadow of her former self and squeezed into a size-zero dress with her forehead lines frozen in time. The BAFTA-winning actress admits she doesn't need to be held up as a national 'beauty' to feel sexy: “I’m not a pin-up, thankfully. I’m not suggesting I feel unconfident. I am beautiful to my husband. I am beautiful to my friends. I feel sexy and all those things with the people I love.”
Although Rihanna may have what many would describe as the body of a goddess, nobody could accuse her of subscribing to the size-zero culture. The <em>Umbrella</em> singer said about the industry standard of being super-skinny: "You shouldn't be pressured into trying to be thin by the fashion industry, because they only want models that are like human mannequins. "But you have to remember that it's not practical or possible for an everyday woman to look like that. Being size zero is a career in itself so we shouldn't try and be like them. It's not realistic and it's not healthy."
The writer and star of HBO's hit series, <em>Girls</em> (think <em>Sex & The City</em> for feminists) sticks two fingers up in the face of Hollywood's size-zero culture at every given opportunity (the star frequently flaunts her ample curves on the screen). When asked in an interview with <em>Playboy</em> magazine what she'd do if she woke up with the body of a Victoria's Secret model, she said: "I don’t think I’d like it very much. There would be all kinds of weird challenges to deal with that I don’t have to deal with now. I don’t want to go through life wondering if people are talking to me because I have a big rack." The writer and actress added: "Not being the babest person in the world creates a nice barrier. The people who talk to you are the people who are interested in you. It must be a big burden in some ways to look that way and be in public. That said, I probably would want to see if I could get free food at restaurants. Then I’d call a doctor and see if she could return me to my former situation."
Charlotte Church has come under fire time and again for her curvaceous figure but will proudly admit she doesn't give a hoot because she has more important things to think about: "I suppose I've always instinctively known what's important and what isn't. And stuff like all of the body image stuff, I was just a bit like, 'Oh, you sad people.' There's so much more to life. Why are you so fixated on this? I'm a person. If someone has got a problem with a size 12 girl walking in with no make-up on and a big spot on her chin, that's their issue. I'm not very insecure."