Science News

Psychiatrists Show That the Media Influences Eating Habits

Sun, 2nd Jun 2002

Part of the show Surround sound stereo with only one speaker

A recent study by Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Anne Becker has shown that watching stick-thin actresses on US sitcoms distorts girls' body images and encourages them to develop eating -disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Most models have 10 to 15% body fat compared with 22 to 26% for a normal healthy woma, and are therefore much thinner than the average person. The study looked at the impact of the introduction of satellite TV in Fiji. Dieting was almost unheard of prior to 1995, and the Fijian culture encouraged healthy appetites and largeer body shapes. But within 3 years of watching US shows, girls became obsessed with their weight. Two-thirds of those questioned reported dieting to lose weight, whilst three-quarters felt that they were too fat. 1 in 8 of the girls asked were bulimic. So this proves what we have suspected all along - that the shape of a normal female body is wrongly portrayed by the media.
Show featuring obesity expert Professor Steve O'Rahilly


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