Ideal body image causes unhealthy habits

Magazines are lined up neatly around the supermarket checkout line, displaying nothing but unattainable standards that beautifully primped, posed and Photoshopped celebrities and models on the covers perpetuate. However, these celebrities and models don’t only stay on the magazine covers in the checkout line; they are also all over social media and television, easily influencing children, teens and young adults to look and act like them.

Being surrounded by one type of ideal body in the media puts pressure on young men and women to try and fit that ideal.

For girls and young women, the ideal is to be thin. According to a study done by the Girl Scouts of USA, nine out of 10 girls ages 13 to 17 think the fashion industry and media put a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. Of the girls in the study, 31 percent admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat in order to lose weight.

Women are not the only ones who deal with the pressure of having an ideal body shape. Men also have pressure put on them to look a certain way.

The ideal body portrayed in media for boys and young men is lean and muscular. In a study published by the Official Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics done by Marla E. Eisenberg, who is a Doctor of Science and Master of Public Health; Melanie Wall; and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, who holds a doctorate and is a Master of Public Health and is a Registered Dietitian, found that more than two thirds of the boys in grades 6 through 12 reported changing their eating habits to increase their muscle size or tone. Along with that, 90 percent of the boys also exercised more in order to increase their muscle mass or tone.

The ideal body for young men and women portrayed in media is harmful, and it can have negative impacts on children and young adults. Seeing the thin, ideal for women and the lean and muscular ideal for men can cause children and young adults to develop unhealthy habits, like restricting food intake or using drugs, in order to try and attain this ideal body.

The fact that pressure to have an ideal body is causing children and young adults to harm themselves and hurt their health is alarming, and it needs to stop. It isn’t right to glam up celebrities and models and then alter their bodies digitally to make them perfectly fit the ideal. All this does is perpetuate unrealistic standards for men and women. Every body is different, and not everyone has the same body type. Feeling good and being healthy should be the ideal.