Friday, September 03, 2004

Dying to Be Thin

Dying to Be Thin

By Sandy Szwarc
Published 07/22/2003

"At no time in history have women been so pressured to be thin," wrote Frances Berg, M.S., L.N., in Women Afraid to Eat -- Breaking Free in Today's Weight-Obsessed World (Healthy Weight Network, 2000).

Women and girls are bombarded with messages about thinness, ideals of beauty, and ways to lose weight. The average woman sees hundreds of commercials a week, and a Brigham and Women's Hospital study in 2000 found virtually all commercials aimed at girls and women focus on physical attractiveness. A series of studies of media in 1986 led by Brett Silverstein, Ph.D., found diet food advertisements targeting women outnumbered those to men by 63 to 1; and articles dealing with thin body images and diets appeared 96 times in women's magazines to every 8 times in men's.

A populace absorbed with desires to be slim and repulsed by fat is obviously advantageous for the diet industry, but generates a hoard of harmful repercussions for consumers.

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