Marketing, Eating Disorders and Body Image

Even as children are bombarded from infancy with messages to eat foods high in calories, sugar, and fat, they-girls especially-are being sold the ideal of being impossibly thin. Eating disorders among teenagers are disturbingly common and even girls as young as six are worrying about their weight.

The discontent teenage girls feel about how they look is linked to watching television commercials and reading fashion magazines. Over half use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

Nor are girls alone in their dissatisfaction with their bodies. Commercial culture also pressures boys to strive for an impossible physical standard.

Did you know?

  • A life-size Barbie doll would have a sixteen-inch waist.
  • More than 40% of first- to third-grade girls want to be thinner.
  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys report dieting in the previous year.

Get more facts.

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