How Social Networks Spread Eating Disorders
By Alice Park — From time.com January 10, 2011 479 1
Teens are undeniably influenced by those around them, and by what they see on social media from television to the internet. So what happens when western media infiltrates a remote island society?
The result, according to research from Harvard Medical School, is all too familiar. Scientists interested in studying the social influences contributing to eating disorders focused on a population of school girls living in Fiji, an ideal setting to tease apart the impact of television, since in some areas, only 8% of households own TVs while in the more urbanized regions, 85% of homes have owned them since they were first introduced around 1995. By comparing rates of eating disorders, a condition highly subject to social influences, among the girls, the team determined that those exposed to television were 60% more likely to display abnormal eating habits than those without such exposure.