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Public Attitudes Toward Aging, Beauty, and Cosmetic Surgery

To explore the constellation of feelings Americans have toward aging, beauty, and cosmetic surgery, a national cross section of 2,008 Americans over age 18 were interviewed by telephone for an average of 25 minutes each. In addition, 500 people who have had cosmetic surgery were interviewed online. Among the findings:

  • Over 90% of those surveyed are satisfied with the way they look for their age, and 60% feel that inner beauty is more important than physical appearance.
  • Both men and women feel that they are, will be or were at their physical peak not during their youth, but during their early middle years (age 38 on average). Those 65 and over say age 46 was their personal best.
  • Only 4% of Americans have had cosmetic surgery. While those undergoing or planning to undergo cosmetic surgery still constitute a distinct minority, 60% of women and 35% of men say they would be interested in having some procedure if it could be done safely, for free and so no one could tell.

The surveys were conducted for AARP by Roper Starch Worldwide Inc. from September 11 through October 20, 2000. (146 pages)