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Muffin tops are Irish women's worst hang-up

Muffin tops, jelly bellies and orange peel skin are the dreaded bugbears of Irish women, a new survey reveals.

Having a large protruding stomach or a layer of fat hanging over their waists is the most common physical "hang-up" of 55pc of Irish women, followed by a flabby stomach at 44pc and orange peel skin or cellulite at 31pc.

Having a bad hair day is also a threat to the confidence of one in five Irish women, with more than one-quarter (26pc) of women aged between 35 and 44 fretting about the state of their barnets.

The online survey of 825 women over the age of 18 during the first two weeks in January was conducted by Empathy Research to see how physical appearance affected women's confidence levels.

The findings suggest close to one-third of Irish women (30pc) do not feel happy about their body and appearance, except those over the age of 45 who are more happy in their own skin, except when it comes to wrinkles and fine lines, which are worries that concern that age group more than their younger or older sisters.



Women in their prime child-bearing years (25 to 34) are the most likely to be unhappy with their bodies

The survey also found that feeling insecure about one's looks not surprisingly affected women's love lives.

Lack of confidence was cited as having a negative impact on the relationships and love lives of close to one-quarter of respondents, with younger women more likely to cite insecurity as a factor impacting on their love lives than older women.

But overall, the survey found that close to one-half of Irish women, 46pc, said insecurity about their appearance affected them in some way.

One in four women said they don't like their partners to see or touch certain parts of their bodies that they don't feel confident about.

Lack of confidence was also cited as a factor affecting women's careers with three-quarters of respondents saying it held them back.

Women aged between 35 and 44 overwhelmingly (82pc) cited lack of confidence as a stumbling block in their career progression, followed by women aged between 25 and 34 at 79pc.

Lack of confidence was also cited as a reason among one in five women for not seeking a promotion while more than one-third reported negative outcomes in job interviews due to both their performance or being nervous during the interview.