Link found between Facebook use and eating disorders

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

University of Haifa study authors advise parents to supervise their children’s web use in order to reduce the danger.

The more teenage girls are involved in Facebook, the higher their risk of having a negative body image and developing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, according to a new University of Haifa study, whose authors advise parents to supervise their children’s Web use in order to reduce the danger.

Prof. Yael Letzer, Prof. Ruth Katz and Zohar Spivak (who studied the matter for her doctoral thesis) of the Social Welfare and Health Sciences Faculty studied two factors involved in eating disorders among a sample of 248 Jewish secular adolescent girls aged 12 to 18: exposure to the media and personal empowerment.

The girls, with a median age of 14.8, were asked about their TV-watching, Internet and magazine-reading habits. Regarding television, the girls were queried about whether they watched popular shows that present an extreme focus on Barbie doll-like “beautiful, voluptuous and thin” women. They also filled out questionnaires on their desire to be thin, satisfaction (or lack of same) with their bodies, weight and eating.

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