Cosmetic surgery ads shown during Love Island are facing a backlash, with the boss of NHS England saying they increase body image pressures on young women.
Discussing the need for the NHS to treat physical and mental health issues with the same gravity, Simon Stevens said: “It’s not just the NHS.
“If you look at the increasing pressures on young women around eating disorder services, we have to look at the whole environment children are being exposed to.
“Some of that is social media, but even if you take a show like Love Island, look at the adverts that are being shown alongside it.
“You’ve got explicit ads aiming at young women around breast cosmetic surgery. That is all playing into a set of pressures around body image.”
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he went on: “The time has come to think long and hard about whether we should be exposing young people to those kind of pressures.”
Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman has also hit out at the ads, telling The Mirror they “destroy body confidence”.
Calling the targeted adverts “predatory and exploitative”, Dr Spelman said: “Extreme surgeries never fix a person’s insecurities. In the best case this is only a short-term solution, in the worst case it can lead to irreversible damage.”
During this week’s episodes of Love Island, which is shown on ITV six nights a week with a highlights show on Saturday, ads have been aired by cosmetic surgery firm MYA.
Established in 2007, the company, which has surgeries across the UK, offers procedures such as breast enlargement, tummy tucks and liposuction.
MYA’s website, which features a banner with tanned girls in swimwear standing in front of a swimming pool, gives the mission statement: “We believe that when you love the way you look, you stand a bit taller, you speak a bit louder and the confident you emerges from within.”
As well as TV ads, Mr Stevens also gave a stark warning to social media giants Twitter, Facebook and Instagram over their use of advertising, saying: “They are beginning to recognise that they are in danger of being on the wrong side of history.”
Sky News has contacted MYA for comment.