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Appearance trumps health for the young
A young person's appearance means more to them than their health, new research has suggested. Investigators from the University of Missouri discovered college-age women in the US think about calories rather than nutrition when it comes to deciding what food to eat.
Maria Len-Rios, Associate Professor of Strategic Communication at the learning institute, pointed out such an approach does not necessarily mean a person is consuming a balanced diet.
Ms Len-Rios explained many females believe attractive ladies are rewarded by society for looking good, noting consumers are often bombarded with media messages about appearance and diet.
"Some participants said they realise images of models are digitally enhanced, but it doesn't necessarily keep them from wanting to achieve these unattainable figures," she added.
The study was presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference in Chicago and observed body image is a sensitive topic - and an easy way to improve it does not exist.
Dr Gary Wood, a Chartered Psychologist, comments:
'In modern Western culture there we simplistically equate slimness with health. Media images enforce the notion that looking good is all about being thin. This leads to a 'winner takes it all - ends justify the means approach' to well-being. In a time when we know more about nutrition that ever before, many people favour the quick-fix, live for today approach over the balanced diet. Healthy eating is long-termism in a culture where short-termism prevails."
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