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Eating Disorders Blog

Experts Warn Against Exposing Children to Weight Loss Television Shows

New research from Queensland, Australia, shows that the number of children ages 13 or under being diagnosed with eating disorders at community mental health services has quadrupled in the past five years. In light of this disturbing trend, experts are warning parents to limit child exposure to TV weight loss shows and dieting paraphernalia.

Julie Parker, general manager of the Butterfly Foundation, which supports people with eating disorders, commented on the "dangerous" and confusing nature of weight loss shows for children: "We constantly have a dieting and thin culture in front of us, and children and young people are exposed like never before."

According to Parker, very young children in particular should not be exposed to extreme weight loss programs because they tend to present "a very warped and unrealistic view of exercise, dieting and health."

Bruce McDermott, University of Queensland professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, called the increase in diagnoses a "robust trend," but stressed that no one really knows the cause. "There are influences on childhood in the last 10 years that have never been there before," he said. "The prevalence of technology in the bedroom - MSN, YouTube, Internet and TV - fairly relentlessly gives a message that thin is good, thin is beautiful and thin is desirable."


Labels: weight loss, tv

Posted By: Aspen Education Group 1 Comment

Snack Ads Cause Children to Eat More

A new study has found that seeing food ads on television can influence children to eat more while watching. The experiment, conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, monitored the behavior of 118 children, ages 7 to 11. The children were each given bowls of Goldfish crackers and left alone to watch a 14-minute cartoon. During commercial breaks, some of the children were shown advertisements for games and entertainment, while other children watched four advertisements for unhealthy snacks, such as waffle sticks with syrup, fruit roll-ups and potato chips.

The children who saw the food ads consumed 45 percent more Goldfish than the children who saw the entertainment commercials. Children viewing the food commercials consumed an average of 28.5 grams of Goldfish crackers, while children viewing entertainment commercials consumed 19.7 grams of Goldfish. Study authors said that the study suggests "a direct causal link between food advertising and greater snack consumption."


Labels: advertisements, kids, tv, eating

Posted By: Aspen Education Group 0 Comments

Experts Explore Impact of Shows that Promote Plastic Surgery

Young women who watched a television show featuring plastic surgery told researchers that the procedures were "inspirational," and a new way for "an unhappy girl to achieve her dreams."

  • Professors Patrick and Charlotte Markey, a husband-wife team, asked 200 college students to watch either a home improvement show or one featuring plastic surgeries.
  • Participants who watched the medical shows were more likely to say they had a positive view of such surgeries afterwards.
  • Females were more likely to respond positively to the shows than males.

"When we think of cosmetic surgery, we don’t think of it as a lifetime issue. There is lots of pressure to look a certain way and I don’t blame them for succumbing; we’re all guilty of feeling vulnerable," said Dr. Charlotte Markey, associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University. "What troubles me is that there’s no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery even makes people happier, what has been documented is that it makes repeat customers."

This study appears in the journal

Body Image



Labels: body image, surgery, tv

Posted By: CRC Health 1 Comment