The more we use social networks, the more we feel bad about ourselves

Facebook, snapchat, instagram… Frequently connecting to a social network is associated with eating disorders in young adults. The self-image is all the more shaken up as we are frequently watching “perfect bodies” staged on social networks.

Women’s magazines and television have long focused the attention of young adults, especially women, on an ideal of the female body, often far from the standards or the healthy weight. These “clichés” have a negative influence on self-image and generate eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.). This problem is now moving to social networks, with a tenfold magnitude.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter… all categories of the population are affected

This new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine followed 1,765 adults aged 19 to 32. Each volunteer had to complete a questionnaire on their use of the most popular networks or social media of the moment: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Vine and Pinterest.

The results were then compared to another questionnaire assessing the risk of eating disorders. First lesson of the study: gender, age, income or race have no influence on risk. Prevention messages therefore concern the entire population.

Loss of self-esteem and self-image disorder

Second lesson: the more intensive the use, the higher the risk. Thus, participants who spent the most time daily on social networks had a 2.2 times higher risk of eating and self-image disorders than their peers, who consumed more reasonably.

And if this practice was repeated frequently during the week, the risk increases to a factor of 2.6. For the authors, social networks combine all the visual aspects of traditional media and also offer the opportunity to interact and propagate stereotypes, which aggravates the phenomenon. This situation encourages some users to post photos of themselves that do not conform to reality, aggravating the loss of self-esteem.

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Sidani JE et al., The Association between Social Media Use and Eating Concerns among US Young Adults J Acad Nut Diet,


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