The Impact of the Media on Body Image

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In the recent decades, with the improvement of the living standard, people have been paying more attention to their own physical appearance. For example, when a person faces to a mirror, he or she will think about if his or her height, weight, body shape even the hair style are beautiful in nowadays’ society. Another example is many grandparents think their obese grandchildren are healthy, but a large number of adolescents themselves think as thin as fashion models are healthy. Obviously, different people have different body image in mind. In my view, the different culture backgrounds, genders, age groups or living environments all can cause different body images. This article will talk about how does the media impact people’s body image and some previous studies in body image will be shown.

Literature review
Media has become the main way for people to get information no matter is the ancient story or the latest news. However, the negative impact also comes out. For example, according to a meta-analysis of 25studies from 1979-2001 shows that people’s body images felt more positive after seeing a fat media image than viewing a thin media image(Groesz,L.,&Murnen,2007). Thus, the researcher sum up that the slender image can let people feel satisfaction. As a result, mare and more social or psychological researcher want to study that how the media influences people’s thinking and use the satisfaction to describe the measure of body image.

Previous study one( body image study in adolescents)
The researcher Hill, G.J. who is the assistant professor of Texas Christian University had a study focus on two main objects. First, to determine media images influence the body image among the collage students. Second, to find if the media effect collage students’ body satisfaction(Hill,G.J.,2009). According to him, the abilitiesof people realise body satisfaction and health behavior,are influenced by mass media images is very important for family and consumer sciences professionals to understand. In this study, there are 184 students who comes from a private university were attended this survey. The average age of student is 21. Both of the male (42%) and female (58%) students were given two sections which were the powerpoint presentation about the weighu management was developed and the questionnaires after the presentation. Firstly, these 184 students were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. The presentation gave the introduction about achievinh health weight, improving eating habits even the food guide pyramid.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Impact of the Media on Body Image." 28 Mar 2017

The difference was the control group were only given the food and mutrition cartoons pictures instead of the experimental group were the photographs of thin or muscular models eating, posing or exercising. After the 15 mins speech,the questionnaires which include self-reported heighy, weight,body satisfaction, happiness with current weight,desire to lose, gain current weight and exercise habit were handed to every student. Through the statistics,scientists find that there was no significant influence between the short-term expoure to media images of thin female and muscular male models and body images However, according to the Nielsen Company’s survey(Hill,G.J.,2009), the average American watched televesion 4.5 hours everyday equals to two months every year. The researchers Hargreaves and Tiggemann shows the study result that adolescent girls had decreased body satisfaction after television advertisments with the thin women. But boys had not influenced by muscular men. Thus, the short-term exposure to mudia images of beautiful models is miniscule compare to the daily basis from everydays’ advertisment onTV.

Previous study two(body image and type 2 diabetes)
This study os about the body image’s sue in the obesity literature. Most of type 2 diabetes patients are overweight or obese. Acturally, body image plays an important role of weight reduction which is beneficial to good diabetes control. In this study which is a cross-sectional analysis contaiin 185 people. Thses 185 people that average from 35-75 which were given questionnaires with 9 body figures, and they needed to pick uo which is ‘look most like yourself’ and ‘do you want to look like’. Also, they needed to answer which the best body image they would like their opposite sex to be and several basic questions. The survey results were shouwn in table 1 and table 2. These figures showed that most of the females think they were heavier than their desired body image(Ingledew,D.K.& Sullivan,G.,2002)
. This always cause the dissatisfation among these type 2 dia betes patients. In conclusion, it is important foe these African-American people with diabetes to first address an individual’s perceived body image, perceived risk of disease. Acording to the author(Ingledew,D.K.& Sullivan,G.,2002)
, use body image to intervene among African-Americans tith diabetes is necessary to prevent and delay diabetes.

The limitations in above two studies.
In the first study, there are two limitation. On the one hand, researchers did not keep the exposure for a long-term. On the other hand, it was ascertained that the questinnaires they answered which mean the weight or exercise frequency. And in the next research also had two limitations of this study. Firestly, due to the cross-section study, it is difficult to make a causal inferenes. Secondly, cause of the typical of African-Americans community, may be there are some problems in using this study results to other communities.

The general research methodology.
Using effects of body mass and body image on exercise motives in adolescence as an example.
At the beginning of whole research,people need to make a aim of the study. In this research,the impact of body mass and bosy image on weight management motive in adolescents had be made as the aim. Then, people should find the preciovs literatures in this areas as the evidences to support researcher’s idea. For instance, ‘Ingledew, Markland, and Medley (1998) found, in a longitudinal study of … weight management … were important for progression to and maintenance of actual activity.’ Next, researcher can go to the survey part. In this case(Kesha,B.R. et al.,2006), author seperates to ten aspect which include participants, measures, questionnaire, exercise Thus, finish all the survey,people need to collect the data to the different areas. For example, author use the table 3 to show exercise level do not has the obviously relationships to Body Mass Index, Perceived body size or Ideal body size. Last, to find the connection between these figures and the results.

Specific health research question and sub-questions.
In order to know how does the media works to influence people’s body image and how can people improve their daily life,here are some research question below we need to find the answers.
First question: How media influence people’s body image?
-What kind of media impact people most?
Second question: In university students, which gender is more easily influenced by media?
-Why are the they eaier?

Dependent and Independent variables
How media influence people’s body image?
Dependent variable:BMI level.
Independent variable: Different media content.

What kind of media impact people most?
Dependent variable:people’ s body image level to each kind.
Independent variable: Different media kind.

In university students, which gender is more easily influenced by media?
Dependent variable:the level of influence.
Independent variable:Two genders.

Significance of the research question
Nowadays, people pay more attentions on different type of medias which became an imprtant part of their life. Similarly, with the development of living standard, people also would like to be more healthy no matter their physical body or the daily living. Thus, find the relationships between the media and health can improve the social health standard(Clark, M.,2004). So ,through these questions, people can indicate how mucn can the media effect people’s life or their thinkings.

Definition of the research question
Body image,is the imagination that people think which physical appearance they should have. Sometime, it can be an expetation of themselve. For example, they think they should have 170 cm height, thin appearance or 60 kg. Acturally,body image can be build by the family backgroud, cultural background,media speared or only a sentence from other people.
BMI,is the abbriation of body mass index which can describe the satisfaction of a person.

Works Cited

Clark,M.,(2004). Is weight loss a realistic goal of treatment in type 2 diabetes? The implications of restraint theory, Patient Educ Couns,53, pp. 277–283.

Groesz,L.,&Murnen. (2007). National Eating Disorders Association. National Eating Disorders Association Organization Overview. Retrieved from

Hill,G.J.,(2009). Media images:Do they influence college students’ body image? Journal of family and consumer sciences, 101,28-33. Retrieved from:

Ingledew,D.K.& Sullivan,G.(2002). Effects of body mass and body image on exercise motives in adolescence. Psychology of sport and exercise. Retrieved from:

(Kesha,B.R. et al.,2006)
Kesha,B.R., Gary,T.L., Bone, L.R., Hill, M.N., Brancati,F.L.(2006). Perceived body image among African American with type 2 diabetes. Patient education and counseling,60,194-200. Retrieved from:

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