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Social Media May Cause Eating Disorders Among Female Athletes

Recent research indicates that social media is contributing to the development of eating disorders among female athletes. | Social Media Eating Disorders

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Recent research indicates that social media is contributing to the development of eating disorders among female athletes. The study suggests that these athletes feel pressured to achieve a particular body type in order to succeed in sports.
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Scientists argue that celebrities and fashion models with photoshopped, unrealistic body images are promoting false nutritional beliefs. This trend known as "fitspiration" is commonly observed on various social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Collegiate athletes Dr Kathryn Vidlock, and Catherine Liggett, and dietician Andrew Dole wrote a book highlighting how disordered eating and negative body image are present in nearly all sports.

Social Media Causes Eating Disorders

Often, social media 'fitness influencers' spread inaccurate health information, despite not being qualified to do so. The use of Photoshop and other editing tools has led to unrealistic images being portrayed in the media.

Young adults, in particular, may feel the pressure to achieve an unattainable body type through harmful and restrictive diets. As a result, they may feel like they are never able to measure up to the unrealistic standards set by the media. This was mentioned by the study authors, as per their media release.

Keeping the dangers of the influence of social media in mind, YouTube has revised its guidelines regarding the content related to eating disorder behaviours, or content which inspires people to engage in such behaviour.

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YouTube’s ban on content promoting eating disorders:

Recently, YouTube Health's director, Dr Garth Graham, announced in a blog post that the video-sharing platform already had community guidelines that forbade content that promotes eating disorders.

However, the platform plans to add more guidelines in the near future to disallow content that contains imitable behaviour which may influence individuals who are vulnerable to developing eating disorders to mimic such behaviour.

The content which depicts restrictive eating behaviour, such as calorie restriction or purging, will be included in this prohibition. Additionally, the post specifies that weight-based bullying pertaining to eating disorders will also be prohibited.

Graham has stated that the guidelines will require some time to be fully implemented. However, these guidelines do not signify that all videos containing eating disorders or dieting subjects will be banned.


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