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Americans' vanity costs the economy hundreds of billions of dollars each year, a shocking report suggests.

Researchers at Harvard University found the US' selfie-obsessed generation are driving up costs through things like a lack of productivity and increased healthcare use.

They estimate $84bn is lost in the workplace alone, through things like taking sick days to look after their physical health and appearance.

And the country's growing obsession with appearance is leading to more cases of anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, drug abuse and smoking, the report says.

These healthcare costs put a whopping $221bn dent in the nation's economy each year.

In total, vanity and appearance were estimated to cost the economy $800billion a year.

The researchers estimate around 45million Americans suffer from body dissatisfaction - or just under 15 per cent of the population.

Body dissatisfaction and discrimination based on appearance cost the US economy around $800billion every year, a new report finds.

Women are primarily harmed by both factors (file photo)

But the report also claims that body dissatisfaction is not just caused by being vain.

They say the economy is being hit hardest by what they call 'appearance-based discrimination' - when someone is judged based on their race, weight or hairstyle.

The researchers say people who are discriminated against are more likely to be out of work or incarcerated, buy ambien online and more likely to develop health problems or turn to drink and drinks.

The report, which was performed as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, attributed $501bn in annual losses to appearance-based discrimination.

Ashton (pictured), 14, said that she wanted to cut off parts of her body after a doctor told her 'a fat kid is a dead adult'

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