The Effects of Social Media on Nutrition


The Effects of Social Media on Nutrition

There is no doubt that more and more of our time is being spent on the computer and inevitably, social media.

With the average person now spending over two hours a day on various social media platforms, it’s only natural that the friends and influencers we follow online affect our real-world decisions around our well-being.

This may seem innocent enough to some, but the preoccupation with weight loss is growing and where do we draw the line between dieting, disordered eating, eating disorder or body dysmorphia?

A study done by King University found that although social media can have a positive effect on the mental health of some of its users, early research for the most part indicates that it negatively affects people’s perception of their body image.

In this same vein an article out of the journal Body Image explained that young women often compare their appearances negatively with other women on Facebook. The study surveyed 227 female college students and found that “young women who spend more time on Facebook may feel more concerned about their body because they compare their appearance to others (especially to peers).” This means there are profound psychological consequences for women’s body image when they compare their physical appearances to others.

An article in Time outlined how this unfavorable self-concept can lead to other issues because of an excess of editing software. “Thanks to an array of free applications, SELFIE-HOLICS now have the power to alter their bodies in pictures in a way that’s practically on par with makeup and other beauty products.” The article went on to say that painstakingly editing photos can lead to a false sense of control where users feel as if they can alter their bodies to get more positive attention. This disconnect between perception and reality increases the distance between what users feel about themselves in real life and what they think about their online persona.

Users need to be aware of the negative effects of social media on body image. The consequences can be devastating on the mental health of users, which makes it absolutely necessary that the psychology of social media receives more and more attention.

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