British Researchers Look at Influence of Media Images on Body Image & the Development of Eating Disorders. NEDA's Media Watchdog Advocacy Program Has Long Called for Reform.
Academic British researchers recently published a new study that suggests the obsession with being thin and unrealistic body image could be altered if advertisers utilized more plus-sized models.
The study was published Nov. 7 in a leading, international academic journal, PLOS ONE, and was led by Durham University with colleagues from Newcastle University and the VU University Amsterdam.
Looking at more than 100 women, the research provides evidence to support calls for fashion models to be more representative of the actual population, which could ultimately help girls and women to develop healthier body image and attitudes towards food and exercise. In the preliminary study, women who strongly preferred thin body shapes were significantly less attracted to thin bodies after viewing photos of plus-size catalog models. Conversely, showing slim models increased women's preference for thin bodies. Additional research, which will also include men, will be conducted to examine the change in preferences in more detail.
Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), "This study is yet more evidence that unrealistic body images in the media are a trigger to developing poor self-esteem and, in those who are pre-disposed, eating disorders. It is time to make a significant change in our societal views, to embrace diversity and to raise our kids to live happy, healthy and confident lives."
To read the full study, "Visual Diet Versus Associative Learning as Mechanisms of Change in Body Size Preferences," visit: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0048691
To find out more about NEDA's Media Watchdog advocacy program - which encourages concerned consumers to write to companies and advertisers and ask them to send healthy media messages regarding body size and shape - visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/media-watchdog.php
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
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