London Mayor Bans “Unhealthy or Unrealistic” Body Images

London Mayer bans unhealthy body images

The new London Mayor Sadiq Khan has delivered on a pre-election promise to ban “body shaming adverts” on London transport. This is in response to the “Are you beach body ready” adverts for a slimming protein product. The infamous advert featured a vegan model who wouldn’t have touched the product as it contained protein derived from cows milk. This advert had a woman in great shape but many people claimed it was body shaming. Who is the London Mayer to decide what bodies are unhealthy?

Why Has The London Mayor Banned A Fit Advert

Mr Khan has unveiled a new advertising policy that will no longer run ads which could cause body confidence issues. The mayor said “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

The advert was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, but for very different reasons. The ASA banned it due to being misleading, no argument there as the woman in question was a vegan. However the mayor is banning it for it’s imagery and this is very different. The tube often has adverts of men shirtless advertising supplements, watches or aftershave and there have not been calls to ban these.


Are Personal Trainers in Good Shape Body Shaming?

I was speaking to a personal trainer friend about this and we both agreed that it was not body shaming, it’s an inspirational image. My trainer friend works out 5-6 times a week and is in tip top condition. She does this not to “body shame” but to advertise herself and inspire people. No one would go to a personal trainer that is out of shape. My friend is a walking advert for her services.

sports person in shape

Are Adverts With Professional Athletes Promoting Unhealthy or Unrealistic Body Images?

Athletes and professional sports people often advertise products such as sportswear. These people have intense workout routines to compete at a world level. They are also genetically gifted. They are also showing a body image that is unachievable for most. Should they be banned?

Genetics Play A Huge Factor In Body Shape

We are all different and genetics are often the largest influence in our body shape. You can’t just look at a photo of a body type and decide to achieve that, well not without surgery. Models are chosen for their looks and these are down to genes. Therefore the vast majority of people can’t achieve the look of certain models. Is it time all adverts with models were banned as their look is unachievable for most?


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About the author


I'm a former GP that left medicine to become a nutritionist and yoga teacher. I enjoy helping clients change their life through diet and exercise. I'm interested in the prevention of illness using natural methods.


  • Great article, I agree with you – where will this end? I think people are out of touch with what is a healthy body.

    BTW would have, sorry I can’t help it!

  • You are getting a lot of hate for this from a spiteful feminist message board. I share this POV, I never really got why people hated this advert. I assume jealousy, its no more sexulised or false advertising than most other adverts. I noticed on the tube this morning there were adverts for multivitamins with fit models. They are far more misleading.

    • I did wonder where a few unpleasant comments came from (they were only a few words long and not constructive so have been binned). I’ve just added a new section to quote the mayor and why he banned it.

  • Will they be banning all plus size models from the tube? As being overweight is detrimental to your health.

    This is just silly PR for him. It actually means nothing. I don’t like advertising, but this is no worse than any others out there. If anything this woman is a healthy size.

  • Great article Eloise! In the UK it looks like your not allowed to have a body in great shape, as it “shames” people that aren’t in good shape.

    I’m fed up with this, I work out and eat well. I’m often getting comments from people saying I have an ED or “could do with a pie” when I’m a healthy weight and the people saying this are usually overweight work colleagues. It seems OK to shame someone for being fit.

    If I was to turn around to these overweight people and say something like “You could do with loosing weight” I would probably get in trouble.

  • This article is completely misleading and goes against the “healthy” lifestyle your blog tries to depict. The advert questioned us if we were “beach body ready?” – which yet another standard and pressure implemented on women – then showed us a widely unachievable body type for your average person. The advert made this body seem like a standard we should all have, without acknowledging that it is this models job to be of a superior fitness and beauty, then suggested we could get it with their weight loss products. How is this a healthy image to be sending to millions of women? It wasn’t suggesting adopting a healthy lifestyle or exercising to achieve whatever healthy body size applicable to you. It was saying, this is how your body should look for the beach and spending money on my powder will get you there which again is incorrect, not proven, misleading and is telling women what their body should look like. These, you aren’t good enough, adverts are dangerous to everyone who doesn’t look like that, even if they are healthy and fit. I applaud Sadiq Khan for banning this advert which will succeed on making you feel bad for not having a body like the Vegan model portrayed. It is absurd to compare this with the athletic image used in the Adidas campaign. First of all that is an Olympian athlete, wearing her uniform so we are aware of that. Therefore from the offset we know it is her job, passion and aim to be the fittest in Britain, as a team GB Olympian. Most importantly her body type isn’t being sexualised and glamorized to sell a product that suggests we can look like her if e buy it. Nor is her body forced upon us as the norm that we should be aiming for. You even recognize in your article that genetics are a big factor in body shape so how can you not see how toxic and misleading the glamorized body paired with “are you beach body ready?” then advertising weight loss is? How is that inspirational – it’s marketing on you feeling bad enough about your body that you’ll want to spend money on a supplement. At least if it was advertising a gym I would be able to see your argument a little bit clearer but it’s not. Off course in the UK [by the way London is one city in the UK, not all of it ;)] you can have a healthy body without it being body shaming. They are understandable scrutinizing companies banking on false ideals

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