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Cosmetic Surgery and Body Image Among Utah Women. Utah Women Stats Research Snapshot (No. 8)
  • Susan R. Madsen, Utah Valley University
  • Janika Dillion
  • Robbyn T. Scribner, Utah Valley University
National media and scholars have puzzled over the high levels of plastic surgery among Utah women, and a national magazine even called Salt Lake City the “Vainest City in America.” Many wonder why Salt Lake City, capital of one of the most religious states in the nation, would employ more plastic surgeons per capita than Los Angeles. In fact, two-thirds of Utah Mormon women know someone who has undergone cosmetic plastic surgery.  In a state known for its conservative and wholesome values, visitors are surprised at the large quantity of billboards lining Utah’s interstate freeway advertising plastic surgery and other body-manipulating procedures. Pinning down causes for this phenomenon is difficult, but this report will attempt to shed light on the cultural and personal factors contributing to the high numbers of elective plastic surgeries (specifically for aesthetic purposes) in Utah. This research snapshot focuses on four key areas: 
1) Defining body image and exploring the pressure to conform to societal standards of beauty,
2) Data on cosmetic surgery nationally and in Utah,
3) Possible explanations for the high levels of  plastic surgery in the state, and
4) A discussion of ongoing efforts, both nationally and in Utah, to improve body image among women.
Publication Date
April 10, 2017
Citation Information
Madsen, S. R., Dillion, J., & Scribner, R. (2017, April 10). Cosmetic surgery and body image among Utah women. Utah Women Stats Research Snapshot (No. 8). Office of the Utah Women & Leadership Project. Retrieved from