Media and Body Image

Media and Body Image

Our culture tells us that we have to change our bodies. TV, movies magazines….all sell us products trying to make us different from how we are. To me, Walden feels like an oasis of sanity. They only thing they’re “selling” here is kindness.”
Former Patient

Body image is how people perceive their physical appearance. Those who have a poor body image perceive their body as being unattractive or even repulsive to others, while those with a good body image will see themselves as attractive to others, or will at least accept their body in its current form.

A major reason many people have a negative body image is because of the impact that media have had on our perception of body image.

Ultra-thin models and actresses appear in ads on television and in movies. Even though media photos of many actresses and actors are airbrushed so they appear younger and thinner, many people see them as having achieved an ideal weight.

One study found that the average height and weight for a model is 5’10” and 110 lbs., while the average height and weight for a woman is 5’4″ and 145 lbs. Considering that the average person sees approximately 3,000 ads and commercials daily, it’s no wonder that media have created a distorted ideal body image.

Media and body image typically have an impact beginning at a very young age. As exposure to the body image presented by media has increased, more and more very young people have developed eating disorders.

Minimize the Impact of Media. Help Your Children Develop a Healthy Body Image.

You can help minimize the impact of media and have your children develop a healthy body image by:

  • Talking to them about the health risks of being thin.
  • Explaining how media images are altered and that the body image shown is not real.
  • Reading up on eating disorders and understanding the symptoms.
  • Limiting your children’s exposure to the body image portrayed by the media.
  • Discussing what a healthy, positive body image is.

While media and body image issues are pervasive, with your help, your children should learn to cope with them. If you or someone you know has a body image problem contact Walden Behavioral Care today at 781-647-6727 or online.

Our Eating Disorder Treatment Program includes inpatient, residential, and partial hospitalization programs, providing discrete, highly specialized treatment for patients 13 and older with anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder and other eating disorders.