Influence of American Mass Media Ideals on Body Image and Eating Disorders in the U.S

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Mass media have an enormous impact on society and how people act, especially in developed countries. How do mass media influence views of body image and the development of eating disorders? People living in countries influenced by Western culture show concern for their appearance or dietary habits daily. This paper will analyze the effect of mass media on the issues of body image and eating disorders in the United States. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR) (2000) eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in eating behavior, which can be eating too much, eating too little, or simply just eating in an unhealthy way. The two major categories of eating disorders are Anorexia …show more content…
Anorexia generally begins after an individual has reached puberty, around ages 14 through 18, and 90% of diagnosed cases are female (DSM-IV-TR 2000). Bulimia, like anorexia, is also found to be more common in developed cultures. The majority of those diagnosed with this disorder are white, and around 90% are female. Unlike anorexia, the age of onset is typically in late-adolescence or early adulthood. A vast majority of research on eating disorders in general, and on the effects of mass media on eating disorders, focuses on females (Greenberg & Schoen 2008) because about 9/10 people diagnosed with an eating disorder are female (DSM-IV-TR 2000). Although mental health professionals recognize that men also suffer from eating disorders, they have been overlooked and studies have not focused much attention on males with eating disorders (Greenberg and Schoen 2008). The diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV-TR (2000) includes things such as amenorrhea, that are only found in females, which shows that even the American Psychiatric Association has somewhat ignored eating disorders in males. The information about males and eating disorders is important; studies have shown that eating disorders typically present differently in males than in females because of the differences in ideal body images between men and women (Andersen 1999; Greenberg & Schoen 2008). Because of the difference in symptoms, eating disorders in males
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