By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Recovering: Rachel Johnson was put on a drip in hospital after her weight plummeted, left, but having now recovered, right, the 20-year-old is campaigning to have images of super-skinny celebrities banned
Three years ago Rachael Johnston was given just 48 hours to live after a four-year battle with anorexia left her weighing a mere 4½ stone.
Her shocking decline was fuelled by an obsession with photo- graphs of super-slim celebrities in glossy magazines.
Now aged 20 and a healthy size eight, she is determined others should not go through her ordeal and is demanding a ban on airbrushed images in magazines and adverts that are aimed at children.
An e-petition, launched with her mother Lynne, urges the Government to bring in a ban or, failing that, they want health warnings on airbrushed photos, similar to those that appear on cigarette packets.
Miss Johnston’s descent into anorexia began when, at 13, she started to idolise celebrities and obsess over their figures.
Campaign: Rachael and mother Lynn have started a campaign to get airbrushing banned or at least captioned in magazine images
She stuck magazine cuttings inside her school locker and compiled motivational scrapbooks which she would pore over to prevent herself from eating when she felt hungry.
Desperate to achieve a ‘celebrity figure’, she would survive on half an apple every two days, and once went without food or water for ten days.
Miss Johnston of Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘Although airbrushed images didn’t actually cause my eating disorder, once I was unwell I would obsess over them.
'It wasn’t until later that I realised what an effect these images can have and how they affected the things I did or how I felt.
‘Although these glossy magazines aren’t actually aimed at under 16s, they still read them. If an image has been airbrushed it should say so and which parts of the body have been altered.
‘People should be comfortable with who they are and not be ashamed to go out in public no matter how they look.’
Support: Rachael and mother Lynn need 100,000 signatures on their e-petition in order to get the Government to debate banning airbrushed images or at least having a health warning displayed on them
During her recovery she worked with Beat, an eating disorder charity, and still gives talks to youngsters about her ordeal.
She added: ‘I love pizza and I love chocolate. Even when I was really poorly it was something I still liked. I’ve got to be in the right mood to be able to eat it. I don’t want to feel guilty afterwards. It’s the feelings that I struggle with.’
The e-petition, which requires 100,000 signatures, calls for the Government to ‘ban airbrushing of all images and adverts aimed at children in the UK’, stating that such images ‘give a false representation of beauty’ and subject children to ‘completely unattainable’ images.
÷ To join the petition go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31414
Monday, April 30, 2012
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER