In a 5-year study of over 2,500 teens, van den Berg et al found that reading magazine articles about diet and weight loss lead to unhealthy weight control behaviors among girls.  Compared to girls who did not read these articles, frequent readers were twice as likely to skip meals, fast, and smoke cigarettes, and three times as likely to vomit or use laxatives in an attempt to control their weight. 

In an Associated Press article about the study, CMCH Researcher Alison Field commented: "The articles may be offering advice such as cutting out trans fats and soda, and those are good ideas for everybody…But the underlying messages these articles send are ‘You should be concerned about your weight and you should be doing something.’"

See more research on magazines and body image from the CMCH Database of Research.

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