Maidstone Leisure Centre features in Zara McDermott: Disordered Eating on BBC3

Nov 22, 2022 | News

Earlier this year, former contestant on Love Island Zara McDermott produced a short film about the rise in the number of young people being treated for eating disorders. Zara is a social media influencer, with a huge number of young followers for her content.

For this short film, Maidstone Leisure Centre was chosen as one of the venues. At the centre, Zara meets a lady called Sophie, who constantly compares herself to the ‘perfect bodies’ she sees on social media, which has led to her developing an obsession with attending the gym, in the hope that she might attain one of these ‘perfect’ physiques.

This episode of the show explores the reasons behind the explosion in eating disorder cases and investigates how social media influencers like Zara could actually be contributing to the problem.

Alongside her regular Instagram profile, Zara has a secondary page @ADayWithZara, where she shares what she eats and her rigorous exercise routines. But is she unwittingly encouraging unhealthy attitudes to food and weight loss in her followers?

The programme airs tonight at 9pm (Tuesday 22nd November) on BBC 3. While the show naturally focuses on eating disorders, it also provides Maidstone Leisure Centre with a platform to highlight the facility, and what’s on offer to both existing, and new audiences.

Sophie’s participation in the show came about as her sister had noted some Boditrax (body composition tools) readings that were lower than they should be for a person of Sophie’s age. Because of this, Sophie spoke to Simon Kavanagh at the centre. Simon knows Sophie’s family, having provided guidance over the years via the SJK Sports Injury Clinic he runs at the leisure centre.

On the day of filming Simon was there in a supporting role and explained the journey Sophie had been on, where via a more balanced approach to food and exercise, she’s developed a better relationship with both.

The show is on tonight, 9pm, BBC 3: Zara McDermott: Disordered Eating.