Facebook And Disordered Eating

A recent study suggested that high levels of Facebook use are associated with an increased risk for eating disorders. The study, based out of Florida State University, was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Why is it that spending more time on Facebook could increase disordered eating? Check out some of my theories here. Can you think of any others?

Still, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Facebook, and other forms of social media, can be used for good, too. 

Body image/eating disorder warrior Claire Mysko makes the case for social media as a advocacy tool in a response article here.

As Mysko writes: “Social media can stoke body dissatisfaction and reinforce disordered eating. It can also empower individuals to use their voices and resist mainstream media messages about beauty and thinness. Let’s keep working to understand the nuances of those risks and leverage the benefits to build a movement of change.”

So, as with most other concepts, Facebook is neither all good nor all bad when it comes to eating disorders. If you find that your Facebook use is resulting in destructive thoughts and behaviors, it might be time to scale back. You might also choose to like some body positive sites to counteract the hoards of other posts and advertisements celebrating restrictive eating, overexercising, and the thin ideal that make their way across your feed each day. 



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