Skinny Images Can Create Unhealthy Reactions Among Women

There is a theory that skinny women are harmful to the health of all others. While this theory does take the idea to the extreme, it highlights the danger females can be in when they are overexposed to images of thin women.

According to a recent Times of India report, this constant exposure alters the brain function and thereby increases the likelihood of the development of eating disorders.

In studying the reaction to repeated images of skinny women, scientists have found that unexpected changes occur in the brain function of healthy, body-confident women. A recent study at Brigham Young University in Utah examined healthy women as they looked at images of models in skimpy bikinis.

Interestingly, some of the models involved were overweight, while some were thin. When each image was viewed, the participant was instructed to imagine that someone else was saying the model looked like her.

When the participants were presented with the images of overweight models, the brain area known as the medial prefrontal cortex – or the front part of the brain linked with strong emotions like unhappiness – showed increased activation in all women being studied. This reaction suggested that the mere thought of being overweight led them to question their sense of self.

In a Hiroshima University study, women who were shown their own body on a screen where the width was adjusted showed brain areas involved with emotional reactions such as fear and anxiety were significantly activated in the process. As additional studies continue in this area, one thing is clear – the power of the image.

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