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Love Island’s sexy, tanned and ‘aspirational’ stars could help combat child obesity, says boss 

Its stars are tanned, toned and have often undergone several thousand pounds worth of plastic surgery.

So it is unsurprising Love Island has been criticised for promoting unrealistic body standards to an impressionable young audience.

But the head of the ITV2 dating show has defended its decision to cast only beautiful people, suggesting it is ‘aspirational’ and could even help to combat childhood obesity.

Love Island has defended its decision to cast only beautiful people by suggesting it is ‘aspirational’ to viewers (pictured, Alex George)

Paul Mortimer, the controller of digital channels at ITV, argued that Love Island shows the contestants exercising and would therefore encourage viewers to work out.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, he said: ‘We cast sexy people, we’re a sexy channel. Those people, by the way, they work quite hard. There’s a gym, we show people working out.

‘There’s also another conversation going on about childhood obesity. If you want to look like the guys on Love Island you have to work out.

‘We make no excuses that people more beautiful than us are entitled to go into a villa for eight weeks and find love.’ 

The show – which sees scantily-clad contestants pitted against each other to find love – has been heavily criticised for its lack of diversity. One of this year’s contestants, Megan Barton-Hanson, is believed to have had £40,000 of cosmetic surgery before she entered the villa in Majorca.

The popular show has also been heavily criticised for its lack of diversity (pictured, Love Island contestant Georgia Steel)

The popular show has also been heavily criticised for its lack of diversity (pictured, Love Island contestant Georgia Steel)

Experts have warned this ‘normalises’ cosmetic surgery and puts young women at risk of ‘debilitating’ body image problems.

Last month the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, warned that the ITV2 show was fuelling body image issues. He said: ‘Look at the adverts that are being shown alongside Love Island. You have got explicit ads aiming at young women around breast – cosmetic – surgery. That is all playing into a set of pressures around body image.’

A study by Tobacco Control previously discovered 21 episodes of Love Island included 2,014 intervals of tobacco-related content – 20 per cent of the total in Series Three. But none of the stars were seen smoking while on camera during the most recent series of the show.

The group said at the time: ‘We suggest programme makers be reminded of their legal obligation on the representation of smoking.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk