The exaggerated size zero of models is not the reason for increase in the rates of bulimia and anorexia nervosa, on the contrary it is the images of successful people which lead to such illnesses,irrespective of how thin they are. Studies have shown that media images contribute to the development of eating disorders. To understand how, psychologist Norman Li of Singapore Management University and colleagues showed portraits accompanied by character descriptions to 841 volunteers in Austin, Texas. They found that women were less happy with their bodies and more likely to restrict their eating after seeing pictures of competitive women - described as "playing to win", for example - compared with other women. This was despite the fact that pictured individuals were of the same average weight and that another set of volunteers had rated them as equally attractive. The effect did not occur in heterosexual men. But with homosexual participants, results were reversed. Gay men but not lesbian women tended to restrict their eating more after viewing the competitive profiles. Li believes this behaviour has an evolutionary origin. He suggests that because people in the west tend to gain weight as they get older, they have come to equate thinness with youth and attractiveness, and competitive advantages in general. Media that show excessively thin women therefore send our competitive instincts into overdrive, he said. He wondered if reading about high-status starlets makes women feel so bad about themselves, why are they still drawn to fashion and gossip magazines? Li said that it would have been beneficial for our ancestors to be intensely interested in how attractive, successful and popular people were doing, so they could compete with them for mates. That's all very well in a small village. But modern media expose us to a much wider social circle, and push our appetite for gossip to extreme levels. "Fashion models, celebrities and television characters are not actually our peers. Their presence makes us look to standards that are largely unattainable or ultimately harmful," New Scientist quoted Li as saying. Trying to compete with such a wide social circle can lead to psychological problems such as eating disorders, workaholism and depression, but according to Li, evolution has hard-wired us to do it anyway. The study has been published in Evolution and Human Behavior.Source: ANI << Indonesia's Two-year-old Chain Smoker Kicks Habit Bomb Detection Technology may Help Weed Out Fake Medicines ... >> Recommended Reading Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder most commonly found among teenage girls. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a very low body weight, generally defined as 15% below the Body Mass Index. READ MORE Orthorexia Nervosa Are you a Health Food Junkie? Are you obsessed with what you eat all the time? You may be a victim of a condition called Orthorexia Nervosa. READ MORE Anorexia Nervosa is a Transient Illness, Says Study In the first nationwide outcome study anorexia of conducted to date, anorexia is a common, often severe, but highly transient illness. READ MORE Binge Eating Disorder When a person overeats, he is unable to control his hunger pangs, while during an emotional/binge eating session, he is incapable of controlling his emotions. READ MORE Bulimia Nervosa The term ''Bulimia'' refers to episodes of uncontrolled excessive eating, known as "binges," followed by self-induced vomiting or purgation. READ MORE Chronic Dieting - Is it an Eating Disorder? Chronic dieting is associated with eating disorders that mainly include unhealthy eating practices such as severe calorie restriction in diet of men or women who on a regular basis follow fad diets mainly to reduce weight. READ MORE Diabulimia Diabulimia is an eating disorder particularly in patients with type I diabetes caused by reducing and/or skipping insulin doses. READ MORE Eating Disorders Eating disorders involve extreme attitudes and behaviors towards food and weight. It has the highest suicidal mortality rate than other mental illnesses. READ MORE Female Athlete Triad Female athlete triad is caused by extreme dieting and exercise usually among young women athletes and leads to abnormal menstruation, an unhealthy body and in extreme cases even death. READ MORE Loss of Taste Symptom of loss of taste usually occurs in combination with loss of smell and can be complete loss or partial loss of taste. It can also be temporary or permanent, though the latter is very rare. READ MORE Sleep Eating Disorders Sleep-related eating disorders are abnormal eating behaviors that occur during night. Sleep related eating disorder is a part of parasomnias. 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