Television and Body Image

It seems that television has an incredibly strong effect on our kids’ body image.  Television, especially advertisements, depict a world of wafer-like slim models that lead impressionable children to measure themselves against what they see on the screen.

A landmark study, recently brought to my attention, was conducted by Harvard Medical School focussing on Fiji.  Prior to the introduction of television in Fiji body weight was seen as sensual thing and hardly something to be anxious about.

The Harvard Medical School visited Fiji to evaluate the effect of the introduction of television on body satisfaction and disordered eating in adolescent girls.

In 1995, television arrived and within three years the percentage of girls demonstrating body dissatisfaction rose from 12.7 per cent to 29.2 per cent.  

Dieting among teenagers who watched TV increased dramatically to two in every three girls and the rate of self-induced vomiting leapt from zero to 11.3 per cent.

I am not advocating against the right for advertisers or television executives to sell products and make the kind of entertainment that sells.  I do however, request that wherever possible, all involved make responsible choices and consider the effect their content has on impressionable children.

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One Response to “Television and Body Image”

  1. ThePowerofMyth Says:

    Thats interesting about Fiji, honestly it doesn’t surprise me though. I hardly watch TV anymore not because of the advertisements, mostly because I simply don’t have time to. However whenever I do sit down to watch tv for some reason I can’t help but laugh at some of the commercials they are just so stupid and horrible now in days.

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