Watching thin women on TV does more than make women feel bad about their bodies. According to the London Daily Mail newspaper, new research says itís actually changing female brain chemistry.
Aric Sigman is a biologist who specializes in the way media affects our brains. He recently looked at body image studies from all over the world, even remote areas like Burma and Papua, New Guinea. What he found is that, in places where there was no media, women have fewer problems with their bodies. That was the case in Fiji, until television arrived in 1995. And within three years the percentage of girls with body issues more than doubled! And, cases of anorexia went from zero to 11 percent. Pretty shocking, but thatís not all.
Recently, researchers from Brigham Young University put women with healthy body images into an MRI machine and showed them pictures of overweight models. The women were told to imagine someone saying they resembled the models. Immediately, the part of the brain that deals with fear and unhappiness showed an increase in activity. Another study in Japan showed women pictures of themselves that researchers had stretched to look wider. The same thing happened.
Aric Sigman says women in the media create a totally unattainable ideal, and just seeing them causes the negative areas in womenís brains to light up like a Christmas tree. Sigman says itís possible that prolonged exposure to these images can essentially flip a switch in some girls D-N-A and trigger a deadly eating disorder.
So whatís the fix? Limit your, and your childís exposure to TV. Keep a dialogue going to make sure your daughter knows what weight is healthy and whatís dangerously thin.