Impact of media on people's health

Today’s children and adolescents grow up in a world flooded with the mass media (television, films, videos, billboards, magazines, movies, music, newspapers, fashion designers and the Internet). Staggering statistics reveal that, on average, a child or adolescent watches up to 5 h of television per day and spends an average of 6 to 7 h viewing the various media combined. Many researchers have hypothesized that the media may play a central role in creating and intensifying the phenomenon of body dissatisfaction and consequently, may be partly responsible for the increase in the prevalence of eating disorders. Over the past 20 years, several articles have proposed a link between the thin female beauty ideal and the muscular male body ideal portrayed in the media with a range of psychological symptomatology including body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Studies have reported a significant change in the weight and size of female and male models portrayed throughout the media in western society and the concept of the ‘perfect or ideal body’.