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Bigger bodies may be in vogue but watch your health

SKINNY, curvy and big booties; the perception of the "perfect body" has changed over the years.

There used to be one ideal body most women would aim for, but these days, researchers say there is more variety.

One mental health expert says this could be a bad thing.

Report continues below...

Australian Counselling Association chief executive Philip Armstrong said these days, bigger bodies were being "normalised".

While it was important people felt good about themselves, he said being heavy should not be considered normal because of the health problems associated with it.

He said there was nothing wrong with using plus-sized models in magazines.

"(But) we shouldn't be normalising to kids that size 18 or size 20 is normal because that's what they're going to aim for," he said.

Queensland University of Technology Psychology and Counselling Clinic psychology services director Esben Strodl said society had gone through various ideal body shapes throughout the years, from skinny, boyish figures in the 1920s to curvy "bigger is better" figures in the 1950s with Marilyn Monroe.

But he said body image now was more complex.

While there are still super-thin models, athletic bodies are also becoming more desired and there has been an increase in plus-sized models.