Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

For Young Adults, Appearance Matters More than Health, MU Research Suggests

August 14, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. -When it comes to college-age individuals taking care of their bodies, appearance is more important than health, research conducted at the University of Missouri suggests. María Len-Ríos, an associate professor of strategic communication, Suzanne Burgoyne, a professor of theater, and a team of undergraduate researchers studied how college-age women view their bodies and how they feel about media messages aimed at women. Based on focus group research findings, the MU team developed an interactive play about body image to encourage frank discussions about conflicting societal messages regarding weight, values and healthful choices.

"During our focus group conversations, we learned that young people don't think about nutrition when it comes to eating," Len-Ríos said. "They think more about calorie-counting, which isn't necessarily related to a balanced diet."

The focus groups included college-age women, college-age men and mothers of college-age women, who discussed how body image is associated with engaging in restrictive diets, irregular sleep patterns and over-exercising.

"We receive so many conflicting media messages from news reports and advertising about how we should eat, how we should live and how we should look," Len-Ríos said. "Some participants said they realize images of models are digitally enhanced, but it doesn't necessarily keep them from wanting to achieve these unattainable figures-this is because they see how society rewards women for 'looking good.'"

The researchers also completed in-depth interviews with nutritional counselors who said lack of time and unhealthy food environments can keep college-age students from getting good nutrition.

"Eating well takes time, and, according to health professionals, college students are overscheduled and don't have enough time to cook something properly or might not know how to prepare something healthful," Len-Ríos said.

Based on the focus group conversations and interviews, Carlia Francis, an MU theater doctoral student and playwright, developed "Nutrition 101," a play about women's body images. During performances, characters divulge their insecurities about their own bodies, disparage other women's bodies and talk about nutrition choices. After a short, scripted performance, the actors remain in character, and audience members ask the characters questions.

"When you're developing something for interactive theater, focus groups and in-depth interviews are great at getting at stories," Len-Ríos said. "Many of the stories used in the interactive play-like valuing people because of their appearance and not their personal qualities or abilities-came from individuals' personal experiences."

Burgoyne says the play helps facilitate dialogues about nutrition, media messages and self-awareness.

"Body image is a sensitive topic, and the play helps open discussions about how individuals view themselves and how media messages influence their self-images," Burgoyne said. "An easy way to improve individuals' body images does not exist, but hopefully, the conversations that arise from the performances will help develop ways to counteract the images that the media promote."

MU student actors debuted the play last spring, and Burgoyne said performances will resume during the upcoming fall semester.

The study, "Confronting Contradictory Media Messages about Body Image and Nutrition: Implications for Public Health," was presented earlier this month at the annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference in Chicago.

The project is part of Mizzou Advantage's food for the future initiative. Mizzou Advantage was created to increase MU's visibility, impact and stature in higher education locally, statewide, nationally and around the world. Mizzou Advantage is a program that focuses on four areas of strength: food for the future, media of the future, one health/one medicine and sustainable energy. The goals of Mizzou Advantage are to strengthen existing faculty networks, create new networks and propel Mizzou's research, instruction and other activities to the next level. Additional funding for script development and performances came from the MU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

University of Missouri


Related Body Image Current Events and Body Image News Articles


Investing in sexual and reproductive health of 10 to 14 year olds yields lifetime benefits
Age 10 to 14 years, a time when both girls and boys are constructing their own identities and are typically open to new ideas and influences, provides a unique narrow window of opportunity for parents, teachers, healthcare providers and others to facilitate transition into healthy teenage and adulthood years.

Study: Body Dysmorphic Disorder patients have higher risk of personal and appearance-based rejection sensitivity
In a recent study, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found that fear of being rejected because of one's appearance, as well as rejection sensitivity to general interpersonal situations, were significantly elevated in individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent
Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites such as Facebook are viewed by their female peers as less physically and socially attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.

Non-Diet Approach to Weight Management More Effective in Worksite Wellness Programs, MU Researcher Finds
Problematic eating behaviors and dissatisfaction with one's body are familiar struggles among women. To combat those behaviors, which have led to higher healthcare premiums and medical trends, employers have offered worksite wellness programs to employees and their families.

Facial transplantation: Almost a decade out, surgeons prepare for burgeoning demand
Plastic and reconstructive surgeons leading the first retrospective study of all known facial transplants worldwide conclude that the procedure is relatively safe, increasingly feasible, and a clear life-changer that can and should be offered to far more carefully selected patients.

Increased time on Facebook could lead women to negative body images
The mediated version of what women should look like has always been under scrutiny, particularly looking at actresses and fashion models.

Indoor tanning by teens linked to unhealthy weight control methods
High school students who use indoor tanning also have higher rates of unhealthy weight control behaviors-such as taking diet pills or vomiting to lose weight, reports a study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

For most adolescents, popularity increases the risk of getting bullied
A new study suggests that for most adolescents, becoming more popular both increases their risk of getting bullied and worsens the negative consequences of being victimized.

Playing with Barbie dolls could limit girls' career choices, study shows
In one of the first experiments to explore the influence of fashion dolls, an Oregon State University researcher has found that girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys.

Single-sex education unlikely to offer advantage over coed schools, research finds
Single-sex education does not educate girls and boys any better than coed schools, according to research published by the American Psychological Association analyzing 184 studies of more than 1.6 million students from around the world.
More Body Image Current Events and Body Image News Articles

The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks

The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks
by Thomas Cash PhD (Author)


Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to accept and enjoy the way you look instead of constantly worrying about and criticizing your appearance? What if instead of focusing on your flaws, you felt confident with the body you have right now?If you don't like what you see when you look in the mirror, you may not realize that these feelings are entirely within your grasp. You don't need extensive cosmetic surgery, pricey beauty treatments, or weight loss programs, but you may need to do something even more drastic-change your perspective and the way you view yourself. The Body Image Workbook offers a comprehensive program to help you stop focusing on your perceived imperfections and start feeling more confident about the way you look.As you complete the helpsheets in this book,...

Body Image, Second Edition: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention

Body Image, Second Edition: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention
by Thomas F. Cash PhD (Editor), Linda Smolak PhD (Editor)


The standard reference for practitioners, researchers, and students, this acclaimed work brings together internationally recognized experts from diverse mental health, medical, and allied health care disciplines. Contributors review established and emerging theories and findings; probe questions of culture, gender, health, and disorder; and present evidence-based assessment, treatment, and prevention approaches for the full range of body image concerns. Capturing the richness and complexity of the field in a readily accessible format, each of the 53 concise chapters concludes with an informative annotated bibliography.
 
New to This Edition *Addresses the most urgent current questions in the field. *Reflects significant advances in key areas: assessment, body image in boys and...

Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate: How to Let Go of Your Struggle with Body Image Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate: How to Let Go of Your Struggle with Body Image Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
by Emily K. Sandoz PhD (Author), Troy DuFrene (Author)


Let’s be honest: most people are unhappy with at least some aspect of their physical appearance. Just think of all the money we spend each year trying to improve our looks! But if worrying about your appearance is getting in the way of living, maybe it’s time to start thinking about body image in a completely new way. Based in proven-effective acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate offers a unique approach to addressing your struggle with body image. In this book, you will not be told that your self-perceptions are wrong, that your thoughts are irrational, or that your feelings are misguided. Instead, you will learn to live with the reality that these often painful thoughts and beliefs about yourself will arise from time to...

Wanting to Be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won't Tell You

Wanting to Be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won't Tell You
by Michelle Graham (Author)


How do you feel when you look at a magazine cover? Do you ever look at the models and wish you looked like them? Most women have had that experience. When you go to the health club, you notice how buff the woman to the left is and how skinny the woman to the right is. And when you go out, you see the guys flocking to talk with certain women and wonder if your looks stack up to theirs. When you get dressed in the morning, do you worry about whether your jeans are flattering? Do you think about who you are going to see when you decide how to do your hair? When you eat a meal, do you think about those magazine models again? Most women do. And they are buying into a lie. In this book Michelle Graham reveals how easy it is to fall into the trap of viewing your body through the lens of...

Feeling Good about the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems

Feeling Good about the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems
by Sabine Wilhelm PhD (Author)


In a society where a blemish or “bad hair” can ruin an otherwise perfect day and airbrushed abs dominate the magazine rack, many of us feel ashamed of our bodies. If dissatisfaction with your looks is a distressing preoccupation, this compassionate book offers a way to break free from the mirror. Harvard psychologist Sabine Wilhelm leads you through a step-by-step program that helps you fight the urge to spend hours “fixing” your skin and hair, working out, or shopping for flattering clothes. Reality-check exercises based on cognitive-behavioral therapy demonstrate how to identify unfounded beliefs about your appearance. Once you understand the negative thoughts and feelings that distort your self-image, you’ll be able to shed lengthy grooming rituals and overcome the...

Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body

Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body
by Kate Wicker (Author)


Countless women today are weighted down by the thought that they are not thin enough, pretty enough, young enough, or good enough. While bookstore shelves are well stocked with advice on how to overcome body image problems, very few take a faith-based, much less Catholic, approach to self-healing. Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body speaks not only to those who may have faced an eating disorder, but also to anyone who wants to live an abundant life, unencumbered by society's obsession with thinness, physical beauty, youth, or food.

Weightless offers: Personal stories that debunk cultural myths about beauty Spiritual tools to help address common struggles Meditations to reshape the way a woman views herself Discussion questions for personal or group...

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body
by Cameron Diaz (Author)


Cameron Diaz shares her formula for becoming happier, healthier, and stronger in this positive, essential guide grounded in science and inspired by personal experience, now a #1 New York Times bestseller.Throughout her career, Cameron Diaz has been a role model for millions of women. By her own candid admission, though, this fit, glamorous, but down-to-earth star was not always health-conscious. Learning about the inseparable link between nutrition and the body was just one of the life-changing lessons that has fed Cameron’s hunger to educate herself about the best ways to feed, move, and care for her body. In The Body Book, she shares what she has learned and continues to discover about nutrition, exercise, and the mind/body connection.Grounded in science and informed by real life,...

Be Less Crazy About Your Body

Be Less Crazy About Your Body


The Dalai Lama famously said, “The world will be saved by Western women.” But not while we’re worrying about our cankles!

Be Less Crazy About Your Body is a manifesto and an instruction manual. Because we twenty-first century ladies are rocking it out in many many ways … but we also still have a lot of leftover mental baggage around beauty and bodies and how we need to look in order to be of value. This little book was written to help you feel more rational and relaxed about all of that. Thereby freeing up mental resources for all the world-saving we’re supposed to be doing!

Be Less Crazy so you can be more of whatever you want to be.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Body Image Dissatisfaction: A Practitioner's Guide to Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Values-Based Behavior Change Strategies (Professional)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Body Image Dissatisfaction: A Practitioner's Guide to Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Values-Based Behavior Change Strategies (Professional)
by Adria Pearson (Author), Michelle Heffner (Author), Victoria Follette (Author)


Despite ongoing criticism of strict beauty ideals, cosmetic surgeons and diet pill manufacturers continue to thrive and tolerance for body flaws seems to lessen every day. More and more people have begun to internalize a need for physical perfection. And the psychological distress that accompanies body image dissatisfaction leaves many individuals in a long-term struggle.Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Body Image Dissatisfaction is a manual for practitioners seeking to help clients let go of self-judgment and preoccupation with body image. Mindfulness and acceptance approaches target the underlying anxiety and perfectionism that keep many trapped in destructive relationships with their bodies. This book presents a clear plan for showing clients how to clarify their values to help...

The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions

The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions
by James Claiborn (Author), Cherlene Pedrick RN (Author)


Do you struggle with constant feelings that your body is not good enough? Do you imagine that, if you could just change you appearance, you would be happier and more fulfilled? If you do, you might be dealing with the effects of a problem called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).Individuals who suffer from BDD are excessively preoccupied with the shape or size of their body-obsessed with a facial blemish, a minor bodily defect, or some specific aspect of their appearance. They spend hours each day thinking about their perceived deformity, checking and rechecking their appearance in the mirror, camouflaging themselves with makeup or clothing. Men affected by a form of BDD known as muscle dysmorphia are obsessively concerned about their muscular development, no matter how large and pumped up...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com