Body Image: The 2021 List of Facts, Figures, and Statistics

Body image is becoming an increasingly well-known topic, between online campaigns about loving your body, television shows about weight loss, and celebrities being more open about their own struggles with this topic.

But how widespread are body image issues? And what contributes to them?

While there are various studies about eating disorders out there, body image isn't strictly about weight or body shape—and the United States doesn't seem to study body image as a topic as much as other countries do. In fact, most studies in this country seem to involve fewer than 1,000 people or very narrow populations, while countries like the United Kingdom are performing nationwide surveys [1] on the topic. So, the information below will come from both the U.S. and other countries.

You'll find data about body image issue rates, how different populations experience body image challenges, causes and correlations for body image struggles, and more. At the bottom, you'll find a list of key terms to clarify the data, as well as citations.

Read on to learn about the results of all types of body image studies.

What is Body Image?

When someone talks about having a positive or negative body image, it's common to think strictly about weight. However, body image can relate to any part of someone's body [1]—hair, nose, freckles, or the body as a whole.

While nearly everyone [2] experiences negative feelings toward their bodies at times, the problems may run deeper.

What is the "Ideal" Body?

These statistics deal with people's perceptions of what the "ideal" body is. This doesn't mean there is an ideal body, but instead reflect people's opinions on what's "best" in terms of appearance.

Who Believes There's an "Ideal Body?"

65% of those under 18 and 45% of adults believe in an "ideal body". [1]

What Type of Body is Thought to be "Ideal?"

This shows the percentages of adults who believe in these different ideals. [2]

Athletic Body (Regardless of Gender)
54% of men and 43% of women

Dad Bod (Men)
30% of those 55+; 12% of those between 18 and 34

Curvy Body (Women)
34%

Model Thin
11%

How Has the "Ideal Body" Changed Over Time?

The "ideal woman" has changed throughout history. A few examples of these historical transitions are: [1]

Ancient Greece, the Italian Renaissance, and Victorian England
"Rounder" looks

1920s
"Androgynous" and slim

1930s-1950s
"Hourglass figure"

1980s
Simultaneously athletic, thin, and curvy

1990s
Extremely thin

How Have Body Image and Its Study Changed Over Time?

Both the image we have of our bodies and how much this topic is studied have changed over the last 100 years:

1920s
The first studies in body image issues absent brain damage began with Paul Schilder in the 1920s. [1]

Since 1980
Over 90% of relevant studies have occurred since 1980. [2]

1973
23% of women and 15% of men expressed body dissatisfaction. [3]

1997
56% of women and 43% of men disliked their appearances as a whole. [4]

2018
83% of women and 75% of men were dissatisfied with their bodies. [5]

How Has COVID-19 Affected Body Image?

Regarding the COVID-19 lockdown in the U.K.: [1]

53% of adults reported feeling worse or much worse about their bodies during that time and 58% of those under 18 reported the same.

Lockdown has made my body image worse due to being able to spend my time on social media and just having time to sit in front of the mirror for ages

–(Girl, 15–17)

How Are Children and Teenagers Affected by Body Image Issues?

Body image challenges don't discriminate by age, and young people are greatly affected by body dissatisfaction and low body appreciation.

By the age of 3 or 4 some children have already pretty much begun to make up their minds—and even hold strong views—about how bodies should look.

–Jacqueline Hardine, advisor to the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) [1]

How Are Very Young Children Affected by Body Image?

Age Three
Children begin to have opinions about their bodies

Cause of Negative Body Images in Daycare-Aged Children
Likely more due to social pressures than mental health disorders [2]

How Do Children in Daycare Feel About Their Bodies?

Daycare workers in the U.K. said they heard and saw children (ages three to five) engaging in the following statements or behaviors at these rates: [3]

  • "They Are Fat": 37%
  • "I Am Fat": 31%
  • "I am Ugly": 10%
  • Avoiding Foods for Fear of Fatness: 19%

How Do Preschool-Aged Children Ages Perceive Weight?

An Australian study provided nutrition resources to some parents and Confident Body, Confident Child (CBCC) resources to others, the latter of which focuses on healthy eating and positive body image. Their children were ages four to six. The results of this project found: [4]

1. These young kids already felt there were "negative social consequences for larger figures," including being left out and unpopular.

2. Children whose parents received the nutrition information instead of the CBCC program reported significantly greater weight bias.

3. Parents who attended a CBCC workshop were more concerned with eating habits than body image.

How Do Eight- to 15-Year-Olds Perceive Their Bodies?

  • Number Thinking They're "Fat" or "Overweight": Just under 18%
  • Attempting to Lose Weight "Sometimes" Within the Past Year: Nearly 49%
  • Attempting to Lose Weight "Frequently" Within the Past Year: Nearly 10%
  • Percent Hoping to Lose Weight: Nearly 34%
  • Percent Hoping to Stay the Same Weight: Just over 22% [5]

How Do Middle School Girls Perceive Their Bodies?

  • 67.5% say they'd prefer to be thinner
  • 60.6% report weight loss attempts
  • 10.8% state they want to be larger
  • 45.4% are already at healthy weights [6]

How Do Boys and Girls Differ in Body Image?

At age 13, boys and girls show similar rates of body dissatisfaction. At 14, girls begin to show significantly higher levels, and the levels increase for them and decrease for boys as they age. [7]

How Do Kids and Adults Differ in Body Image Experiences?

66% of people under age 18 and 61% of people age 18+ feel negative or very negative about body image all the time [8].

Body Image Education in U.K. Schools

78% of young people want to learn about body image in school, but only 23% had received this kind of instruction.

I feel as though, children, especially in secondary school should be taught about body image and how to appreciate your body despite your appearance because it has affected me and my friends very negatively, especially with social media always telling us we need perfect teeth, clear skin, curvy body, toned stomach etc. It makes teenagers not feel good enough.

–(Girl, 15–17)

What Do Kids Think Affects Their Body Images?

Social Effects
Internalization of society's body ideals, criticisms about one's appearance, and discussions with friends and peers account for 45.7% of body image variance.

Body Image Curricula
Under 20% of curricula taught in schools had lasting impacts on participants. The majority of this instruction only focused girls, excluding boys or other genders. [9]

How Does Bullying Affect Body Image?

Childhood bullying correlates with low body image during the teen years and disordered eating in adulthood. [10]

How Does Body Image Affect Children's Social Skills?

Children ages nine to 12 in Spain who are happy with their bodies "have greater skills to understand and appreciate the emotions of others, greater flexibility and effectiveness to resolve conflicts, and a more positive life attitude, and therefore, they can better control their emotions." [11]

How Does Body Image Affect Sexual Activity in Youth?

Girls who experience poor body image are more likely to engage in sexual activity at younger ages (under 12 through 15). [12]

How Do Body Image and Appreciation Affect Depression?

In a study looking at mistreated youth, the following was found: [13]

1. Depressive symptoms are correlated with lower body appreciation and higher body dissatisfaction in children ages nine to 12.

2. Boys ages nine to 12 who experience maltreatment show lower body appreciation, though not higher body dissatisfaction.

How Do Race and Ethnicity Impact Body Image?

This section includes information regarding body image in BIPOC, as self-identified by the participants.

How Are Black People Affected by Body Image Issues?

I feel like there's this fascination outside the black community, like if one day your hair is natural, and the next day you got it relaxed, and then people are like, 'Oh my God, that's amazing, can I touch it?' And…it makes me like, think about hair more than I probably would otherwise.

–College-aged female study participant [1]

Body Image Discrepancy Rates
71.6% of fifth through eighth grade white girls showed high body image discrepancy, compared to 63.6% of Black girls. [2]

Purging
Black teenagers are 50% more likely to purge than their white peers are. [3]

Gendered Microaggressions
Black women who experience gendered racial microaggressions tend to have poorer body images be more likely to equate their self-worth with their appearances. [4]

How are Latinx People Affected by Body Image Issues?

Growing up as a Latina was hard because I wasn't curvy and I didn't look remotely close to J.Lo or Jessica Alba. I didn't fit that certain look that we are stereotyped for. I find that media still continues to push this idea that all Latinas are voluptuous and supposed to be sexy.

–Giselle Castro [5]

Bulimia
It's been found Latinx people are more likely to experience bulimia than their non-Latinx peers. [6]

Body Image
Latina girls are most likely to have poor body image and low body appreciation than other teenagers. [7]

How are Asian/Pacific Islander People Affected by Body Image Issues?

In this system, the bodies of people of color cannot exist without adjunct captions. Asian people cannot be thin, fat, tall, short, etc. without the implicit addition of 'Asian.' An Asian person with creased eyelids is 'an Asian person with white eyes,' and an Asian person with epicanthic folds (also known as monolids) is 'typical,' and therefore subject to a whole slew of racist caricatures and epithets. Therefore, my body image is inextricably tied with my race.

–Julie Feng of The Body is Not An Apology [8]

Asian American women are more likely to report low appearance satisfaction than white women, particularly when it comes to eyes. [9]

Influences on Body Image in Asian American Women:

  • Immediate family and elders seem to influence Asian American women's eating behavior and body image.
  • Clashes of American culture and the culture from which the women came influenced body image and eating stress issues.
  • Peers had a large influence on whether they accepted or rejected body negativity from families. [10]

How are Indigenous People Affected by Body Image Issues?

Our relationship with food was manipulated during colonialism. We were not allowed to have a relationship with our land or with our food. When Europeans came, they believed that European food made up the colonial body, which meant the ability to continue colonizing. When they came here they shamed indigenous foods, completely changing the diets of native people.

–Gloria Lucas, founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride [11]

Indigenous people are drastically under-studied regarding body image and eating disorders, but it shouldn't be assumed they don't experience these issues. [12]

In a study of young Native American females, the following was discovered: [13]

Feelings About Their Face
7% positive feelings
79% neutral feelings
14% negative feelings

Feelings About Their Hair
57% positive feelings
36% were neutral feelings
7% negative feelings

Feelings About Their Weight
14% positive feelings 64% neutral feelings
21% negative feelings

Feelings About Their Figure
21% had positive feelings
64% neutral feelings
14% negative feelings

They felt it was more important to be attractive to themselves rather than to others. Their concerns were generally the same as those of other races/ethnicities.

How Are Adults Affected by Body Image Issues?

This section focuses on those ages 18+, with information broken down by gender where appropriate. Regarding gender, these are from studies of cisgender people. LGBTQ+ people will be covered in the next section.

How Adults View Their Weights

Nearly 50% of adults 16+ consider themselves overweight and nearly 61% want to lose weight.

86% of those 18-34 [1] and 75% of those 55+ [2] report body dissatisfaction.

Over 75% of adults would be willing to give up something they enjoy or care deeply about to magically obtain their "perfect" body, including:

  • 33% would give up social media
  • 8% would disown their pets
  • 5% would give up a year of their lives

How Are Women and Girls Affected by Body Image Issues?

"During my journey, I kept telling myself I'd be happy once I lost the weight. That I'd be 'there.' I remember repeating the same sentence over and over. We all know the one. 'Once I lose weight, I'll…' Truth is, I was wrong. Once I lost weight I felt, well, the same.

–Kelly Brown, blogger on The Kindred Voice [3]

Women and Girls Reporting Body Dissatisfaction Worldwide
85% of women and 79% of girls skip important activities eue to body dissatisfaction.

Poor Body Image and Expressing Opinions
70% of girls with a poor view of their bodies won't be as vocal about opinions [4]

How Women Feel About Their Bodies
54% of women say they're their own worst critics [5]

  • U.S.: 24% feel comfortable in their own bodies (ninth out of 13 countries studied)
  • South Africa: 64% feel comfortable in their own bodies
  • Japan: 8% feel comfortable in their own bodies [6]

Motherhood and Body Image [7]
Women with children show lower body image issues than women without. Those with very young children display fewer of these challenges than those with older kids.

Women and Eating Disorder Behavior [8]
13% of women over 50 show behaviors in line with eating disorders.

How Are Men Affected by Body Image Issues?

It's not only women and it's men too. It affects everything and it sucks.

–Teen boy in the U.K. [9]

A review of 20 articles found male body image is studied significantly less frequently than female body image. [10] This may make it seem like men live with body issues at much lower rates, but we simply don't have extensive enough data to definitively say this.

Millennial Men and Body Image [11]

Causes of Low-Self Esteem Leading to Body Dissatisfaction

  • Muscularity (strongest connection)
  • Weight
  • Height

Men's Weight and Clothing Choices
Weight plays a significant role in clothing choices (i.e., hiding or displaying the body), but height and muscularity generally don't.

What Affects Men's Body Dissatisfaction? [12]
While it was hypothesized men's body dissatisfaction would be significantly affected by social media, it was found it was more likely to be affected by how they believe their female friends want men to look.

Men's Ideal Bodies [13]
Though both men and women reported believing an athletic ideal is best, for men, a "muscular ideal" is generally considered more accurate when discussing their own bodies.

How Do Men and Women Differ in Body Image Issues?

A Canadian study comparing disordered eating habits between men and women discovered: [14]

Personality Traits
Women's levels of neuroticism correlated with disordered eating
No personality traits stood out as predictors for men's habits

BMI
7% of women and 14% of men report BMI playing a role in body dissatisfaction. Men with higher BMIs showed higher levels of body dissatisfaction.

Male Participants' Disordered Eating Rates
18%, higher than previous estimates of 5% - 15%

How Does Body Image Relate to Plastic Surgery Rates?

Between 1997 and 2015, cosmetic surgery increased by 538% for women and 325% for men. In 2015, people were most likely to undergo: [15]

Women's Cosmetic Surgeries

Liposuction
Breast Enhancement
Tummy Tuck
Breast Lift
Eyelid Surgery

Men's Cosmetic Surgeries

Liposuction
Nose Surgery
Eyelid Surgery
Male Breast Reduction
Facelift Surgery

What Do Men and Women Think the "Opposite" Sex Wants Partners to Look Like?

There are discrepancies between what men and women believe the "opposite" sexes prefer. Though the numbers themselves may seem small, the body types associated with these figures are noticeably different: [16]

Short-term Relationship Expectations vs Reality

Men believe women would prefer...

BMI of 27 and body fat of 14%
(slim, defined muscles)

Women actually prefer men with...

BMI of 26 and 15% body fat
(a bit less slim with less-defined muscles)

Women believe men would prefer...

BMI of 21 and body fat of 23%
(very thin, minimal visible muscles)

Men actually prefer women with...

BMI of 23 and 23% body fat
(a bit curvier and more muscular)

Long-term Relationship Expectations vs Reality

Men believe women would prefer...

BMI of 27 and 14% body fat

Women actually prefer men with...

BMI of 26 and 15% body fat
(no different than their short-term preference)

Women believe men would prefer...

BMI of 22 and body fat of 24%

Men actually prefer women with...

BMI of 22 and 24% body fat
(a bit curvier and more muscular)

How Does Education Correlate With Body Image?

87% of people with college degrees and 85% of people without college degrees report body dissatisfaction [17].

How is the LGBTQ+ Community Affected by Body Image Issues?

Just as cisgender men and women are affected differently by body image issues, so are members of the LGBTQ+ community when compared to cisgender, heterosexual people—and each other.

How Are Transgender, Nonbinary, and Other Gender Nonconforming People Affected by Body Image Issues?

As a trans woman through transition I have gone from hating my body due to dysphoria to hating my body due to pressures on women to conform.

–Woman (35 – 44) [1]

Nonbinary and Transgender People and Eating Pathology

Anorexia and Bulimia Rates
Four times higher than cisgender people

Disordered Eating
Twice as likely to experience disordered eating than cisgender people

Diagnosed Eating Disorders"
16% of transgender students [2]

Attempts to Change Bodies Via Diet and Exercise: 88%

Attempting to Lose Weight: 46% [3]

Zero percent of transgender people in the U.K. feel "very positive" all the time about body image all the time while 23% feel "very negative" all the time about body image all the time. By comparison 12% of cisgender responders feel very negative all the time. [4]

How Are Lesbian and Bisexual Women Affected by Body Image Issues?

As much as I'd love to embrace this particular stereotype, queer women don't live in a magical utopia where everyone dances around in uninterrupted harmony with themselves and with nature, eating organic vegetables and never bothering to look in a mirror.

–Lindsay King-Miller on the stereotype that women who sleep with women don't have body image issues [5]

BMI
Bisexual women are more likely to connect their BMIs to their body images than their lesbian and queer peers. [6]

Body-checking Behavior [7]
Both straight and lesbian women are less likely to engage in "body-checking behavior" than bisexual women are, with a less significant difference between bisexual and straight women. This study didn't see a notable difference in eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder signs between the groups.

How Are Gay, Bisexual, and Other Sexual Minority Men Affected by Body Image Issues?

Body image issues aren't unique to bi or gay men, but toxic thoughts pertaining to self-worth and physical care have become dangerously prevalent within the MSM (men seeking men) community. Open an app like Grindr and you'll be greeted with body-shaming phrases so familiar and cliched that straight people know about them, too. 'No fats, no femmes.' 'Gym-fit only.' I work out and you should too.' Over the years, we've all heard that trite line: 'You can be straight thin, but gay fat.'

–Nick Levine of G.Q. [8]

Homonegativity
Consistency in high rates of body dissatisfaction, particularly regarding muscularity, among sexual minority men who experience internalized homonegativity

In a pair of studies of cisgender men of varying sexual orientations, it was found: [9]

Weight Discrimination
When they studied gay, bisexual, and straight men, bisexual men reported the most weight discrimination.

Internalized Weight Bias
Bisexual and gay men displayed more internalized weight bias than straight men. However, straight men showed more overall weight bias (i.e., against others) than the other two groups.

Interestingly, in their second study—which only included gay and bisexual men—gay men showed more internalized weight bias than bisexual ones, which went against their first study's data.

However, the study suggests, overall, bisexual men are at the most risk for the problems caused by weight stigma than other groups.

Does Body Image Relate to Social Media Use and Other Online Activities?

A common question being asked by parents and schools is, "how are social media and other aspects of internet use affecting our children's self-images?" But, the question needs to be expanded to include adults.

The statistics below explore how body image is affected by different types of social media and internet use, including general information, selfies, and the well-intended hashtags regarding body image and health.

How Does Screen Time Affect Body Image?

In a study of fifth- through eighth-grade girls, no relationship between screen time and body image discrepancy was found. [1]

How Does Social Media in General Affect Body Image?

Gender and Culture
Use of social media seems to increase body image problems and disordered eating. These results were similar across genders and cultures. [2]

Men and women express lower body satisfaction and a greater focus on appearance—and may even desire cosmetic surgery—after viewing social media imagery at similar rates. [3]

Under Age 18:
Social media is the number one influence over body image.

Age 18+:
Social media is the number three influence over body image. [4]

How Does Instagram Affect Body Image?

A UK study showed 49% of frequent Instagram users showed signs of orthorexia nervosa, compared to <1% of the U.K.'s overall population. [5]

How Does Facebook Affect Body Image?

Upward Family vs. Non-family Comparisons
Young adult women are more greatly affected by non-family than family members' images. [6]

"Fixing" Faces
Contradicting some previous studies, an Australian study found viewing Facebook images made women more likely to want to "fix" their hair, skin, and faces than their bodies or weights. [7]

How Do Selfies Affect Body Image?

Google states that on its Android devices alone, 93 million selfies are taken every single day. [8] And 259 people died in pursuit of that perfect picture between 2011 and 2017—showing the danger could be immediate. [9]

But do selfies have longer-term effects on body image?

There's this rollercoaster of feeling anxious and then getting reassurance from other people that you look good. But that probably doesn't last forever, and then you take another selfie.

–Jennifer Mills, associate professor at York University [10]

A study of 113 female undergraduate students in Toronto showed: [11]

Anxiety rose more for those who posted unretouched selfies than those who posted retouched ones. Both showed increased anxiety.

Depression rose for those who posted unretouched selfies but went down for those who posted retouched ones.

Confidence fell more for the unretouched group than the retouched group, though both experienced lower confidence.

Both groups felt less attractive and less satisfied with their body sizes after posting photos, with unretouched ones showing higher rates of feeling unattractive and dissatisfied.

Both the unretouched and retouched groups showed decreases in feelings of "fatness" after posting their selfies.

Self-objectifying images tend to receive more "likes" than non-objectified images—leading young women to post more images of this type. [12]

Among 7th and 8th grade girls, selfies result in a negative view of both the posters (e.g., they're looking for compliments) and themselves (e.g., I don't post them because I'm too ugly). [13]

Are #BodyPositive, #Fitspiration, #Thinspiration, and Other Digital Movements Helping or Hurting Body Image?

In the last few years, hashtags meant to inspire positive body image and steps toward making "healthy" choices have become increasingly popular. But, are they having their desired results?

Believing we "should" love everything about our bodies makes us feel like failures when we don't. Sometimes it seems that body positivity doesn't leave any room for insecurities and frustrations, which every single one of us struggles with.

–Alyssa Royse, trainer and gym owner [14]

Who is Posting These Images, and What Do They Post?

Two-thirds are posted by women, focusing on thinness with only half showing faces

One-third are posted by men, focusing on muscles [15]

Influencers and Brand Disclosure
Three-fourths of "influencers" hide their brand association disclosures—meaning viewers may not know when a post was sponsored by a company, such as a health, fitness, or weight loss brand. [16]

What is Posted? [17]

  • Thinspo shows body parts more frequently than fitspo
  • No differences between thinspo or fitspo regarding sexually suggestive content, recommending restrictive eating, or comparing appearances
  • In 2018, only Tumblr had fitspiration combined with body positivity
  • References to mental illness combined with thinspo more common on Tumblr and Instagram
  • Emphasizing boniness more common on Twitter than Instagram

Are Body Positive, Fitspiration, and Thinspiration Related to Eating Disorders?

Before getting into the data, the answer is: sometimes. Many people who post these have good intentions or are making money off products relating to the topic—in other words, a lot of these posters don't want to hurt anyone.

However, eating disorder content is sneaking in—and it's not being caught by social media sites' algorithms via:

Misspelled or Variations on Hashtags
Pro-eating disorder posts sometimes intentionally misspell (e.g., #thynsporation, #anarexic) or slightly vary hashtags (e.g., #thinspire) to avoid filters [18]

If it were up to me, hell yeah, I'd ban that tag. What started as a movement to inspire people to lose weight has taken off and turned into a monster, this pro-ana and pro-mia movement.

–Paige Padilla, thinspiration blogger, on the hashtag "#thinspiration" [19]

Those With EDs Who View These Hashtags
Frequent exposure increases symptom severity [20]

It's worth noting not all experts think these hashtags or related websites are necessarily bad—these forums may give those living with E.D.s spaces to talk about their disorders. It's more a matter of how rather than if they're being used. [21]

It's very, very difficult to tease out what would fit under the category of toxic, or pro-eating disorder content. The people who are posting it and who are engaged in these communities are really struggling. You don't want to set it up as this is good and bad, demonizing the users who are posting this content.

–Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association [22]

How Do "Health and Fitness" Pages Affect People?

People following these Instagram pages show higher internalization of thinness being the ideal, particularly from celebrities' posts. [23]

Those following healthy food-related accounts show more signs of orthorexia nervosa, with Instagram showing the greatest effect. [24]

How Does Body Ideal Type Relate to #BodyPositive, #Fitspo, and #Thinspo Responses?

An Australian study of women who idealize "athletic" bodies shows significantly increased body dissatisfaction after viewing "fitspiration" images featuring: [25]

Athletic Bodies
A mean body dissatisfaction rating increase of nearly 12 points

Muscular Bodies
A mean body dissatisfaction rating increase of nearly six points

Thin Bodies
A mean body dissatisfaction rating decrease of about two points

How Do People React to #Fitspo and #Thinspo?

Body Satisfaction
Those who frequently look at "fitspiration" on Instagram are less likely to be satisfied with their bodies and more likely to want to be thinner. [26]

How #Thinspo and #Fitspo Affect Men and Women

Men are affected differently by #thinspo and #fitspo than women: [27]

Men report greater body dissatisfaction after viewing fitspiration, while thinspiration led to lessened body dissatisfaction.

Both thin- and fitspiration pictures put them in a worse mood and led to a desire to become more muscular.

Only fitspiration resulted in men desiring to lose body fat.

How Do Families Affect Children's and Teens' Body Images?

Kids are always listening—whether they're in the room with you or being sneaky so they can hear "grownup talk." They also often internalize what their families say about attractiveness, weight, and their own looks from a startlingly young age, which may affect their childhood experiences.

How Do Parents' Attitudes Toward Body Size and Image Affect Very Young Children?

An Australian study of four-year-olds and their parents' influence on their attitudes toward body size and body image shows: [1]

Four-year-olds and Size
27.8% of boys and 37.7% of girls want to be a different size than they are.

Dads' Influences
Boys whose dads show anti-fat bias are more likely to associate thinness with positive characteristics.

Interestingly, sons of dads who showed dietary restraint viewed those with larger bodies positively.

Moms' Influences
Girls whose moms engaged in dietary restraint view thin people more positively.

How Does Parental "Fat Talk" Affect Tween and Teen Body Image?

In a study of 581 parents of children between nine and 15, it was found: [2]

Parents' Frequency of "Fat Talk" About Themselves:
76% engage in this in front of their children sometimes or often
51.5% have done so at least once

Self-directed "fat talk" rates didn't differ based on the gender of the child.

Comments on Children's Weight
43.6% admit to making at least one "fat talk" comment about their child in front of their child.
18.3% state they have commented on their child's weight gain.

Sons are more often the subject of "fat talk" than daughters.

Children who were the subjects of "fat talk" were found to be "significantly associated with binge eating, overeating, secretive eating, and overweight/obesity."

Self-directed statements weren't meaningfully related to these issues

How Does "Fat Talk" Between Mothers and Daughters Affect Body Image?

A study involving both mothers and their daughters (ages 11-18) reported: [3]

"Fat Talk" and Teen Depression

Teen girls who participated in "fat talk" showed higher levels of depression when their mothers did not engage in this kind of talk.

To explain this confusing observation, the study posits that perhaps, "One possible explanation is that the primary motive for women and girls to engage in fat talk might be to reduce their anxiety associated with body image concerns and to fulfill their desire for social support…"

"Fat Talk" and Eating Pathology

When mothers engaged in "fat talk," it increased their daughters' eating pathology but not their depressive symptoms.

Mothers' depressive symptoms and eating pathology were not affected by their daughters' "fat talk."

Listening to "fat talk" had less of an effect on eating pathology than engaging in it.

The more mothers and daughters engage in "fat talk," the more they show signs of eating pathology.

How Do Parents' Comments on Weight Affect Weight Loss Attempts?

I remember my dad offering me money on multiple occasions as incentive to lose weight.

–College Woman [4]

Extreme Weight Control/Loss Methods[5]

4.2% of young girls without parential comments on weight and 23.2% of young girls with frequent parential comments on weight engage in extreme methods of weight control

How Do Families Affect Body Image Into Adulthood?

The internalization of body image-related comments in childhood doesn't necessarily disappear when one hits 18 years old. The messages about what makes someone attractive—including the child themselves—received during childhood often have lifelong effects on people.

Is Adulthood Body Image Affected by Childhood Messaging?

A study in Portugal found both men's and women's body images were affected by memories of shame regarding their bodies in childhood. [1]

What Do Adults Remember About Parents' Body Image Comments?

My mom always told me 'it's better to be depressed skinny than fat.

[2]

Who Made the Memorable Comments About Body Image?

"Memorable body messages came most often from the participant's mother" in a study of college women. In descending order of commonality, these messages also came from:

  • Non-friend peers
  • Other relatives
  • Friends
  • Grandmothers
  • Fathers
  • Brothers
  • Teachers

What Were Most Memorable Messages on Bodies About?

Body Size/Weight: 43.1%
Specific Body Parts: 10.2%

Are Memorable Body Image Messages Positive or Negative?

Only 12.2% of the memorable messages "encourage participants to like or value their body."

Notes About Data

When discussing data, it's important to address any limitations or discrepancies.

First, while the information is divided into sections, there is some crossover between them. If you're looking for a specific statistic, be sure to check any sections it could reasonably appear in.

Second, some of the data may seem contradictory. This is because different studies focus on different groups. For instance, one statistic may only address undergraduate students, while another includes a broader scope. Or, one may deal with a small geographical area, while another is national or even global. Despite the differences in the datasets and their resulting discrepancies, we thought it would be important to paint the fullest possible picture.

Third, while these statistics are certainly important, it's essential to remember everyone's relationship with their body, beliefs about body image in general, and so forth are unique to them. So, if these statistics don't represent your experience, that's okay—it doesn't make your experience less valid.

Fourth, some research methods are increasingly recognized as flawed.

For instance, one study focusing on Mexican and Puerto Rican men stated many researchers don't tailor their questions to the group members being studied and instead use the same questions (and images) given to white participants. According to them, this means cultural differences, preferences, and understandings about body image may not be taken into account. [1]

It's also been noted males are asked the same questions as females, and the questions may need to be further tailored to their lived experiences. [2]

Another acknowledged the standard Visual Body Image Scale for Men (VBSM), which is used in many body image studies, shows a light-skinned male image. They indicated this may skew the amount to which participants can "see themselves" in the images. [3]

Finally, even though body image addresses all parts of one's body and not just their weight, most studies on this issue have related to weight and/or size. Therefore, most of the statistics below address these factors. The lack of other types of statistics indicates a clear need for further study, and it's important to not only focus on weight if you're concerned about someone's view of themselves.

Key Terms

  • Athletic ideal: A body type preference involving thinness, visible muscle tone, and curviness existing on one body simultaneously
  • Body appreciation: Positive body image
  • Body dissatisfaction: Negative body image
  • Body dysmorphic disorder: A mental health issue involving a deep and constant focus on one's appearance
  • Body image: What someone believes and feels about their own appearance
  • Body image discrepancy: The difference between how one sees their weight/size vs. their actual weight/size; sometimes called "body image distortion" or "self-discrepancy"
  • Dietary restraint: Eating less to avoid weight gain
  • Eating disorder: An umbrella term for a group of mental illnesses regarding eating behaviors and relevant feelings; it's not a choice or necessarily driven by a desire to change one's appearance (though that's often a factor)
  • Eating pathology: Any behavior that could indicate a type of eating disorder that often results in weight loss, such as purging or food restriction
  • Fat talk: Negative comments regarding one's own weight, focusing on being "too heavy"
  • Fitspiration (Fitspo): A combination of "fitness" and "inspiration," with the goal of inspiring viewers to focus on healthy eating and exercise
  • Hashtag: Previously known as a pound sign (#), this is used to indicate keywords in social media posts, and viewers can typically click on it to see other posts using the same hashtag
  • Influencer: An online personality who strives to get people to do something (e.g., focus on health and fitness, put on makeup correctly, love their bodies)
  • Internalized homonegativity: Occurs when societal negativity about sexual minorities enters the unconscious minds of LGB people and they believe them to some extent, causing them to judge themselves and/or others accordingly; sometimes called internalized homophobia
  • Neuroticism: Displaying a tendency to worry, become irritated, feel sad or disturbed, and experience mood swings
  • Orthorexia nervosa: An unhealthy obsession with eating healthfully
  • Thinspiration (Thinspo): A combination of "thin" and "inspiration," with the goal of inspiring viewers to become thinner
  • Self-objectification: The theory that when women and girls frequently view sexually objectifying images and messages, they begin to view themselves as "objects" to be sexualized or otherwise admired based on appearance
  • Selfie: A photo taken of oneself, usually with a smartphone
    • Retouched selfie: A selfie in which someone uses filters, apps, etc. to modify their appearance
    • Unretouched selfie: A selfie in which no one changes anything about the image
  • Sexual minority: A catch-all term for non-heterosexual people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc.)
  • Thin ideal: A belief that a very thin body—often below average weight—is the perfect body
  • Upward comparison: Comparing one's own appearance to someone they believe is more attractive (the opposite is downward comparison)

Sources

Introduction

[1] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

What is Body Image?

[1] Body Image. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/body-image

[2] Jackson, C., & Lemay, M. (2018, February 13). Most Americans Experience Feeling Dissatisfied with How Their Body Looks from Time to Time, Including Nearly Two in Five Who Feel This Way Whenever They Look in the Mirror. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/most-americans-experience-feeling-dissatisfied-with-body-looks-from-time-to-time

What is the "Ideal" Body?

[1] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[2] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[3] Van Edwards, V. (2020, April 21). Beauty Standards: See How Body Types Change Through History. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.scienceofpeople.com/beauty-standards/

How Have Body Image and its Study Changed Over Time?

[1] Grogan, S. (2016). Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women and children. Taylor & Francis.

[2] Voelker DK, Reel JJ, Greenleaf C. Weight status and body image perceptions in adolescents: current perspectives. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 2015 Aug 25;6:149-58. doi: 10.2147/AHMT.S68344. PMID: 26347007; PMCID: PMC4554432.

[3] Berscheid, E., Walster, E., & Bohrnstedt, G. (1973). The happy American body: A survey report. Psychology Today, 120. doi:10.1037/e400542009-006

[4] Garner, D. (2017, September 14). Body Image in America: Survey Results. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199702/body-image-in-america-survey-results

[5] Jackson, C., & Lemay, M. (2018, February 13). Most Americans Experience Feeling Dissatisfied with How Their Body Looks from Time to Time, Including Nearly Two in Five Who Feel This Way Whenever They Look in the Mirror. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/most-americans-experience-feeling-dissatisfied-with-body-looks-from-time-to-time

How Has COVID-19 Affected Body Image?

[1] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

How Are Children and Teenagers Affected by Body Image Issues?

[1] Holohan, M. (2016, September 01). Kids as young as 3 say 'I'm fat' and need to diet. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.today.com/health/children-young-3-have-poor-body-image-talk-dieting-says-t102453

[2] Lombardi, K., Beatty, S., Devine, A., Wallace, R., & Costello, L. (2020). Fat talk: Influences on body image in childcare. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 31(2), 224-231. doi:10.1002/hpja.272

[3] Holohan, M. (2016, September 01). Kids as young as 3 say 'I'm fat' and need to diet. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.today.com/health/children-young-3-have-poor-body-image-talk-dieting-says-t102453

[4] Hill, K. E., Hart, L. M., & Paxton, S. J. (2020). Confident Body, Confident Child: Outcomes for Children of Parents Receiving a Universal Parenting Program to Promote Healthful Eating Patterns and Positive Body Image in Their Pre-Schoolers—An Exploratory RCT Extension. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 891. doi:10.3390/ijerph17030891

[5] Centers for Disease Control (Ed.). (2020, June). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Nchs/Nhanes/2017-2018/WHQMEC_J.htm

[6] Robbins L.B., Ling J., Resnicow K. Demographic Differences in and Correlates of Perceived Body Image Discrepancy among Urban Adolescent Girls: A Cross-Sectional Study. BMC Pediatr. 2017;17:201. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017-0952-3.

[7] Bearman S.K., Presnell K., Martinez E., Stice E. The Skinny on Body Dissatisfaction: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Girls and Boys. J. Youth Adolesc. 2006;35:217–229. doi: 10.1007/s10964-005-9010-9.

[8] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[9] Voelker DK, Reel JJ, Greenleaf C. Weight status and body image perceptions in adolescents: current perspectives. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 2015 Aug 25;6:149-58. doi: 10.2147/AHMT.S68344. PMID: 26347007; PMCID: PMC4554432.

[10] Gattario, K. H., Lindwall, M., & Frisén, A. (2020). Life after childhood bullying: Body image development and disordered eating in adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 44(3), 246–255. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025419877971

[11] Alonso, D. A., León-Del-Barco, B., Mendo-Lázaro, S., & Gallego, D. I. (2020). Examining Body Satisfaction and Emotional–Social Intelligence among School Children: Educational Implications. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(6), 2120. doi:10.3390/ijerph17062120

[12] Gazendam, N., Cleverley, K., King, N., Pickett, W., & Phillips, S. P. (2020). Individual and social determinants of early sexual activity: A study of gender-based differences using the 2018 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (HBSC). PloS one, 15(9), e0238515. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238515

[13] Kennedy, A. K., Schneiderman, J. U., & Negriff, S. (2020). Body appreciation and body dissatisfaction between maltreated and comparison adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 108. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104514

How Do Race and Ethnicity Impact Body Image?

[1] Awad, G. H., Norwood, C., Taylor, D. S., Martinez, M., Mcclain, S., Jones, B., . . . Chapman-Hilliard, C. (2014). Beauty and Body Image Concerns Among African American College Women. Journal of Black Psychology, 41(6), 540-564. doi:10.1177/0095798414550864

[2] Robbins L.B., Ling J., Resnicow K. Demographic Differences in and Correlates of Perceived Body Image Discrepancy among Urban Adolescent Girls: A Cross-Sectional Study. BMC Pediatr. 2017;17:201. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017-0952-3.

[3] Bryan, B. (2020). Dealing With Eating Disorders. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 31.

[4] Dunn, C. E., Hood, K. B., & Owens, B. D. (2019). Loving myself through thick and thin: Appearance contingent self-worth, gendered racial microaggressions and African American women’s body appreciation. Body Image, 30, 121-126. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2019.06.003

[5] Ferreira, J. (2020, August 20). 7 Latinas Get Real About Their Body Insecurities. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://hiplatina.com/latinas-talk-body-image/

[6] Bryan, B. (2020). Dealing With Eating Disorders. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 31.

[7] Kennedy, A. K., Schneiderman, J. U., & Negriff, S. (2020). Body appreciation and body dissatisfaction between maltreated and comparison adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 108. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104514

[8] Feng, J. (2019, April 05). "You Sure Are Hot FOR an Asian Girl" and Other Ways Words Devalue People of Color. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/escaping-the-forbecause-qualifier-of-racialized-bodies/

[9] Frederick, D. A., Kelly, M. C., Latner, J. D., Sandhu, G., & Tsong, Y. (2016). Body image and face image in Asian American and white women: Examining associations with surveillance, construal of self, perfectionism, and sociocultural pressures. Body Image, 16, 113-125. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2015.12.002

[10] Javier, S. J., & Belgrave, F. Z. (2019). “I’m not White, I have to be pretty and skinny”: A qualitative exploration of body image and eating disorders among Asian American women. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 10(2), 141-153. doi:10.1037/aap0000133

[11] Sutriasa, A. (2017, December 15). YES! Magazine: Indigenous activist Gloria Lucas leads body positive movement. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.indianz.com/News/2017/12/15/yes-magazine-indigenous-activist-gloria.asp

[12] Bryan, B. (2020). Dealing With Eating Disorders. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 31.

[13] Campbell, H. Y. (mi). Exploration of Body Image and Connection with Nature Among American Indian Female Adolescents (Master's thesis, Prescott College, 2016). Ann Arbor: Proquest.

How Are Adults Affected by Body Image Issues?

[1] Centers for Disease Control (Ed.). (2020, June). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Nchs/Nhanes/2017-2018/WHQMEC_J.htm

[2] Jackson, C., & Lemay, M. (2018, February 13). Most Americans Experience Feeling Dissatisfied with How Their Body Looks from Time to Time, Including Nearly Two in Five Who Feel This Way Whenever They Look in the Mirror. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/most-americans-experience-feeling-dissatisfied-with-body-looks-from-time-to-time

[3] Hartley, S. (2016, October 06). Losing Weight Didn't Make Me Happy. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.thekindredvoice.com/blog/2016/10/6/losing-weight-didnt-make-me-happy

[4] Dove. (2018, June 29). New Dove Research Finds Beauty Pressures Up, and Women and Girls Calling for Change. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-dove-research-finds-beauty-pressures-up-and-women-and-girls-calling-for-change-583743391.html

[5] Dove. (2019, November 01). Our research. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.dove.com/us/en/stories/about-dove/our-research.html

[6] Moss, R. (2016, June 21). Women's Body Confidence Is A 'Critical Issue' Worldwide ... Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/dove-global-body-image-report_uk_5762a6a1e4b0681487dcc470

[7] Yager, Z., Prichard, I., Hart, L., & Damiano, S. R. (2020). Mumbod? A comparison of body image and dietary restraint among women with younger, older, and no children. Journal of Health Psychology, 135910532096742. doi:10.1177/1359105320967422

[8] Bryan, B. (2020). Dealing With Eating Disorders. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 31.

[9] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[10] Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image, 17, 100-110. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.02.008

[11] Sung, J., & Yan, R. (2020). Predicting clothing behaviors of Generation Y men through self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. Fashion and Textiles, 7(1). doi:10.1186/s40691-019-0200-6

[12] Flynn, M. A., Cotchett, E., & Lin, L. (2020). The relationship between men’s peer and social media muscularity ideal discrepancies and body satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(5), 1534-1553. doi:10.1177/0265407520903387

[13] Lei, X., &amp; Perrett, D. (2020). Misperceptions of opposite‐sex preferences for thinness and muscularity. British Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1111/bjop.12451

[14] MacNeill, L.P., Best, L.A. & Davis, L.L. The roles of personality in body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating: discrepancies between men and women. J Eat Disord, 5, 44 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-017-0177-8

[15] The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (2015). 2015 Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.surgery.org/sites/default/files/ASAPS-Stats2015.pdf

[16] Lei, X., &amp; Perrett, D. (2020). Misperceptions of opposite‐sex preferences for thinness and muscularity. British Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1111/bjop.12451

[17] Jackson, C., & Lemay, M. (2018, February 13). Most Americans Experience Feeling Dissatisfied with How Their Body Looks from Time to Time, Including Nearly Two in Five Who Feel This Way Whenever They Look in the Mirror. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/most-americans-experience-feeling-dissatisfied-with-body-looks-from-time-to-time

How is the LGBTQ+ Community Affected by Body Image Issues?

[1] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[2] Bryan, B. (2020). Dealing With Eating Disorders. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press, 30-31.

[3] Kirby, S. R., & Linde, J. A. (2020). Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students at a Large Public Midwestern University. Transgender Health, 5(1), 33-41. doi:10.1089/trgh.2019.0071

[4] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[5] King-Miller, L. (2017, October 09). How Coming Out Changed My Body Image. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a28395/how-coming-out-changed-my-body-image/

[6] Burnette, C. B., Kwitowski, M. A., Trujillo, M. A., & Perrin, P. B. (2019). Body Appreciation in Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women: Examining a Model of Social Support, Resilience, and Self-Esteem. Health Equity, 3(1), 238-245. doi:10.1089/heq.2019.0003

[7] Badenes-Ribera, L., Fabris, M. A., & Longobardi, C. (2018). The relationship between internalized homonegativity and body image concerns in sexual minority men: A meta-analysis. Psychology & Sexuality, 9(3), 251-268. doi:10.1080/19419899.2018.1476905

[8] Levine, N. (2020, January 27). Why Body Image Issues Pervade the Gay Community. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.gq.com/story/why-body-image-issues-pervade-the-gay-community

[9] Austen, E., Greenaway, K. H., & Griffiths, S. (2020). Differences in weight stigma between gay, bisexual, and heterosexual men. Body Image, 35, 30-40. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.08.002

Does Body Image Relate to Social Media Use and Other Online Activities?

[1] Robbins, L. B., Ling, J., & Resnicow, K. (2017). Demographic differences in and correlates of perceived body image discrepancy among urban adolescent girls: A cross-sectional study. BMC Pediatrics, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12887-017-0952-3

[2] Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image, 17, 100-110. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.02.008

[3] Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image, 17, 100-110. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.02.008

[4] Body Image Survey Results (Rep.). (2020). London, UK: House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

[5] Turner, P.G., Lefevre, C.E. Instagram use is linked to increased symptoms of orthorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders — Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia, and Obesity. 22, 277-284 (2017). https://doi.org/10.007/s40519-017-0364-2

[6] Hogue, J. V., & Mills, J. S. (2019). The effects of active social media engagement with peers on body image in young women. Body Image, 28, 1-5. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.11.002

[7] Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Halliwell, E. (2015). Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women's body image concerns and mood. Body Image, 13, 38-45. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.12.002

[8] Zetlin, M. (2019, May 31). Taking Selfies Destroys Your Confidence and Raises Anxiety, a Study Shows. Why Are You Still Doing It? Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/taking-selfies-anxiety-confidence-loss-feeling-unattractive.html

[9] Bansal, A., Garg, C., Pakhare, A., & Gupta, S. (2018). Selfies: A boon or bane? Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 7(4), 828. doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_109_18

[10] Oakes, K. (2019, March 11). The complicated truth about social media and body image. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190311-how-social-media-affects-body-image

[11] Mills, J. S., Musto, S., Williams, L., & Tiggemann, M. (2018). “Selfie” harm: Effects on mood and body image in young women. Body Image, 27, 86-92. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.08.007

[12] Bell, B. T., Cassarly, J. A., & Dunbar, L. (2018). Selfie-Objectification: Self-Objectification and Positive Feedback (“Likes”) are Associated with Frequency of Posting Sexually Objectifying Self-Images on Social Media. Body Image, 26, 83-89. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.06.005

[13] Burnette, C. B., Kwitowski, M. A., & Mazzeo, S. E. (2017). “I don’t need people to tell me I’m pretty on social media:” A qualitative study of social media and body image in early adolescent girls. Body Image, 23, 114-125. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.09.001

[14] Royse, A. (2019, April 01). Is it Time to Call B.S. on Body Positivity? Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.glamour.com/story/is-it-time-to-call-bs-on-body-positivity

[15] Carrotte, E. R., Prichard, I., & Lim, M. S. (2017). “Fitspiration” on Social Media: A Content Analysis of Gendered Images. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(3). doi:10.2196/jmir.6368

[16] Forrester, J. (2020, October 19). Instagram Cracks Down on Influencers Failing to Disclose Commercial Partnerships. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://talkinginfluence.com/2020/10/19/instagram-cracks-down-influencers-disclose-commercial-partnerships/

[17] Alberga, A. S., Withnell, S. J., & Ranson, K. M. (2018). Fitspiration and thinspiration: A comparison across three social networking sites. Journal of Eating Disorders, 6(1). doi:10.1186/s40337-018-0227-x

[18] Chancellor, S., Pater, J. A., Clear, T. A., Gilbert, E., & Choudhury, M. D. (2016). #thyghgapp: Instagram Content Moderation and Lexical Variation in Pro-Eating Disorder Communities. Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing - CSCW '16. doi:10.1145/2818048.2819963

[19] Fetters, A. (2013, May 08). 'An Epidemic, Basically': A Conflicted Weight-Loss Blogger on #Thinspo. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/05/an-epidemic-basically-a-conflicted-weight-loss-blogger-on-thinspo/275671/

20] Griffiths, S., Castle, D., Cunningham, M., Murray, S. B., Bastian, B., & Barlow, F. K. (2018). How does exposure to thinspiration and fitspiration relate to symptom severity among individuals with eating disorders? Evaluation of a proposed model. Body Image, 27, 187-195. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.10.002

[21] Hess, A. (2015, July 14). The Panic Over Pro-Anorexia Websites Isn't Healthy. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://slate.com/technology/2015/07/pro-anorexia-and-pro-bulimia-websites-blogs-and-social-media-moral-panic-isnt-healthy.html

[22] Matsakis, L. (2018, June 13). How Pro-Eating Disorder Posts Evade Filters on Social Media. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.wired.com/story/how-pro-eating-disorder-posts-evade-social-media-filters/

[23] Cohen, R., Newton-John, T., & Slater, A. (2017). The relationship between Facebook and Instagram appearance-focused activities and body image concerns in young women. Body Image, 23, 183-187. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.10.002

[24] Turner, P. G., & Lefevre, C. E. (2017). Instagram use is linked to increased symptoms of orthorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 22(2), 277-284. doi:10.1007/s40519-017-0364-2

[25] Robinson, L., Prichard, I., Nikolaidis, A., Drummond, C., Drummond, M., & Tiggemann, M. (2017). Idealised media images: The effect of fitspiration imagery on body satisfaction and exercise behaviour. Body Image, 22, 65-71. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.06.001

[26] Fardouly, J., Willburger, B. K., & Vartanian, L. R. (2017). Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways. New Media & Society, 20(4), 1380-1395. doi:10.1177/1461444817694499

[27] Yee, Zhi & Griffiths, Scott & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Matthew & Blake, Khandis & Richardson, Ben & Krug, Isabel. (2020). The differential impact of viewing fitspiration and thinspiration images on men's body image concerns: An experimental ecological momentary assessment study. Body image. 35. 96-107. 10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.08.008.

How Do Families Affect Children's and Teens' Body Images?

[1] Damiano, S. R., Gregg, K. J., Spiel, E. C., Mclean, S. A., Wertheim, E. H., & Paxton, S. J. (2015). Relationships between body size attitudes and body image of 4-year-old boys and girls, and attitudes of their fathers and mothers. Journal of Eating Disorders, 3(1). doi:10.1186/s40337-015-0048-0

[2] Lydecker, J. A., Riley, K. E., & Grilo, C. M. (2018). Associations of parents' self, child, and other “fat talk” with child eating behaviors and weight. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 51(6), 527-534. doi:10.1002/eat.22858

[3] Chow, C. M., & Tan, C. C. (2018). The role of fat talk in eating pathology and depressive symptoms among mother-daughter dyads. Body Image, 24, 36-43. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.11.003

[4] Rubinsky, V., Hosek, A. M., & Hudak, N. (2018). “It’s Better to Be Depressed Skinny than Happy Fat:” College Women’s Memorable Body Messages and Their Impact on Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Rape Myth Acceptance. Health Communication, 34 (13), 1555-1563. doi:10.1080/10410236.2018.1504659

[5] Bauer, K. W., Bucchianeri, M. M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2013). Mother-reported parental weight talk and adolescent girls’ emotional health, weight control attempts, and disordered eating behaviors. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(1). doi:10.1186/2050-2974-1-45

How Do Families Affect Body Image Into Adulthood?

1] Duarte, C., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2016). Self-Defining Memories of Body Image Shame and Binge Eating in Men and Women: Body Image Shame and Self-Criticism in Adulthood as Mediating Mechanisms. Sex Roles, 77(5-6), 338-351. doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0728-5

[2] Rubinsky, V., Hosek, A. M., & Hudak, N. (2018). “It’s Better to Be Depressed Skinny than Happy Fat:” College Women’s Memorable Body Messages and Their Impact on Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Rape Myth Acceptance. Health Communication, 34(13), 1555-1563. doi:10.1080/10410236.2018.1504659

Notes About Data

[1] Sanchez-Johnsen, L., Dykema-Engblade, A., Nava, M., Rademaker, A., & Xie, H. (2019). Body Image, Physical Activity and Cultural Variables Underlying Race and Ethnicity among Latino Men. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13(5), 85-94. doi:10.1353/cpr.2019.0041

[2] Macneill, L. P., Best, L. A., & Davis, L. L. (2017). The role of personality in body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating: Discrepancies between men and women. Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(1). doi:10.1186/s40337-017-0177-8

[3] Talbot, D., Cass, J., & Smith, E. (2018). Visual Body Scale for Men (VBSM): Validation of a new figural rating scale to measure perceived-desired body discrepancy in men. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75(3), 462-480. doi:10.1002/jclp.22710