Sam Smith's Body Image Issues Led Him To Get Liposuction At Age 12

Singer Sam Smith said he has opened up about his body image struggles because too few high-profile men do.

The "Latch" artist shared the news in the first episode of actor Jameela Jamil's new Instagram web series I Weigh.

Smith, 26, told Jamil that he's struggled with his body image "from since I can remember, like since I was a baby."

As a boy, Smith revealed that he was "chubby" and "carried extra oestrogen" in his chest.

"I had breasts," he said.

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Image: Instagram/@jameelajamilofficial.

He was so self-conscious that he'd beg his mum to excuse him from school sport and swimming lessons -- "It was affecting my mood every day," he said.

At 12 years old Smith had liposuction. He said at first, he was "very happy" with the results but soon put the weight back on.

"I hadn’t figured out my relationship with food, so it didn’t really change anything," he explained.

But being 12 years old and having liposuction on your chest is quite a big deal.

It is not uncommon for young people to undergo cosmetic surgery.

According to a 2016 report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a total of 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on 13 to 19-year-olds, a one percent increase on the previous year.

Some of the most common procedures for teens were nose reshaping, male breast reduction, ear surgery, laser hair removal and laser skin resurfacing.

In Australia, cosmetic surgeons treating patients under the age of 18 must adhere to the Medical Board of Australia's guidelines -- which include a psychological assessment and a one to three-month cooling off period -- which came into effect in 2016.

Surgeons are also obliged to consider the views and opinions of the young person's parents.

Men and body image

For Smith, his body image issues persisted beyond childhood.

"It's the basis of all my sadness," he said.

Literally everything I've ever been sad about is my weight. I struggle with it every day.

"I get very, very dark and very sad," he continued.

The one-time Oscar-winner has previously been open about his struggles with his body and told Jamil that he wanted to do the interview to bring attention to body image issues in men.

"I haven’t really found many men talking about this," Smith said.

"Especially well-known men ... Even doing this chat feels kind of weird, because guys don’t speak about this that much on a big scale."

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Shortly after the episode went live on Friday, Smith tweeted that the experience had "completely changed" his life.

More than one in three Australians are unhappy with the way they look a 2018 study by The Butterfly Research Institute found.

A report by Deloitte Access Economics estimated that 350,000 Aussie men of all ages are living with an eating disorder -- that number is expected to reach over 367,000 in 2021.

A quarter of people experiencing anorexia and bulimia are male and an almost equal number of males and females have a binge eating disorder.

In response to the increase in body dissatisfaction, eating and body disorders in young males The Butterfly Foundation launched Australia's first digital body image program tailored to adolescent boys, RESET in late 2018

The program aims to tackle issues that are perceived as healthy behaviours for men and boys such as over-exercising and an extreme pursuit for muscle growth.

Two-thirds of adolescent boys make specific changes to their diet to gain muscle and 90 percent admit that they exercise primarily to gain muscle.

Feature image: Getty.

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