advertisement
08 November 2012

What's your ideal weight?

A 'visual diet', or the images that women see, may be just as critical to their weight preferences as associating certain body types with success.

0

"Visual diet," or the images that women see, may be just as critical to their weight preferences as associating certain body types with success, according to research published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Lynda Boothroyd at Durham University with colleagues from Newcastle University, United Kingdom.

Preferences for a particular body size may result from exposure to images of other women, or from learning that a certain body type is associated with aspirational goals such as high status or better health.

To test which of these two influences may be more important in directing women's preferences, the researchers showed women a series of photographs of women of varying weights in high-end clothing, as well as eating-disordered patients in grey leotards. The participants' preferences for particular body types were evaluated before and after they saw different combinations of these pictures.

What the results showed

The results showed that viewing one type of figure, either smaller or larger, increased women's preference for that body type, regardless of whether they were depicted as aspirational or not.

To a lesser extent, the researchers also found that exposure to aspirational images of overweight women could induce a preference for larger body types, even in the presence of lower-weight figures in the non-aspirational category. According to the authors, these results show significant support for the effect of a 'visual' diet.

Lead author Boothroyd says, "This really gives us some food for thought about the power of exposure to super-slim bodies. There is evidence that being constantly surrounded through the media by celebrities and models who are very thin contributes to girls and women having an unhealthy attitude to their bodies.

Furthermore, it seems that even so-called 'cautionary' images against anorexia might still increase our liking for thinner bodies, such as those featuring the late French model Isabelle Caro, which is a sobering thought."

(EurekAlert, November 2012)

Read more: 

Eating according to your body type

7-a-day leads to better health and happiness

Eating disorders: 9 recovery tips

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Watch what you're drinking! »

What’s SA’s most sugary drink? Sugary drinks like liquid candy Why soda is bad for you

Do you consume Coke often?

Coca-Cola works with dieticians who suggest the sugary drink is a good idea for a snack.

Drinks for dieters »

Are low carb diets effective? What Tim Noakes eats 10 golden rules of Banting

Low-carb drinks for Banters

Trying to lose weight doesn't have to mean cutting out alcohol, just watch what you're drinking