Magazine Advertisements Send Unhealthy Signals to Young Women

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British doctors yesterday called on the media to use female models with more realistically proportioned bodies instead of "abnormally thin" women who contributed to the rise in the numbers of people suffering from eating disorders. A report by the British Medical Association claimed that the promotion of rake-thin models such as Kate Moss and Jodie Kidd was creating a distorted body image which young women tried to imitate. It suggested that the media can trigger and perpetuate the disease. "Female models are becoming thinner at a time when women are becoming heavier, and the gap between the ideal body shape and reality is wider than ever," said the report. "There is a need for a more realistic body shape to be shown on television and in fashion magazines." The report, which says young women look at thin models and see themselves as fat in comparison, calls on broadcasters and magazine publishers to use a more realistic range of body images. It also suggests society should put more emphasis on better eating and health to increase awareness about the impact of poor nutrition and dieting on young women. At a conference to launch Eating Disorders, Body Image and the Media, Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA said: "Let's see many different sizes and shapes reflected in the images of women we see in the different types of media. Let's play up the fact that it is not shape that matters. It is health that matters." The report is published just weeks before Britain hosts a "thin summit" on June 21 to tackle the issue of the media and body image. An estimated 7m women and 1m men in Britain suffer from eating disorders. Anorexia affects up to 2% of British women aged between 15 and 30, and between six and 10 of every 100 patients die as a result of their illness. The report concludes: "The media can boost self-esteem where it is providing examples of a variety of body shapes, roles and routes of achievement for young men and women. However, it often tends to portray a...
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