Why this work matters…

  • Americans spend over $40 billion a year on diet-related products yet 95% of all dieters regain lost weight (and more!) within 5 years (National Eating Disorders Association, 2006).
  • Eating pathology, including unhealthy dieting practices, increases the risk for future onset of obesity, depression, suicide attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and physical health problems (Stice & Shaw, 2004).
  • More than 20 million American women will have eating disorders at some point in their life—this is more than are struggling with breast cancer (National Cancer Institute estimates that 2.6 million women have breast cancer or history of breast cancer). An estimated 10 million American men struggle with eating disorders as well (Wade, Keski-Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011).
  • Far from being benign, a negative body image is associated with serious mental health problems including low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders (American Psychological Association, 2007; Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008).
  • Concern about the body and eating problems was the number one issue for girls and women aged 11 to 80 years (if not about themselves then about their daughters or granddaughters) (Halliwell, Diedrichs, & Orbach, 2014).
  • Hearing or engaging in even 3-5 minutes of “negative body talk” significantly increases body dissatisfaction (Stice, 2003).
  • American college men exhibit substantial levels of body dissatisfaction; and they tend to chose ideal bodies with 25 lbs. more muscle and 8 lbs. less fat than their actual bodies (Olivardia et al., 2004).
  • Nearly half of 3-6 year olds worry about being fat (Silverman, 2010).
  • The beauty ideals which saturate all media from Facebook to Tumblr to Instagram to mainstream magazines, music videos, and billboards, create anxiety and shame around personal appearance (Halliwell, Diedrichs, & Orbach, 2014).
  • Seeing models and celebrities in ads, in magazines, and on TV leads to lowered self-esteem, increased body dissatisfaction, dieting, and depressed mood (Project EAT, 2006 and Stice, 2002).
  • Time spent on the Internet was significantly related to internalization of the thin ideal, body surveillance, and drive for thinness. 75% of the girls aged 13-15 years had a Facebook profile, and spent an average of 1.5 hours there daily. Facebook users scored significantly more highly on all body image concern measures than non-users (Tiggemann & Slater, 2013).

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