The aim of the study is to understand the connection between
eating disorders and media influences. The study aim is to investigate various
eating disorders such as Anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and Binge
eating disorder (BED), also the effects on these disorders on body image. Find
the association between an eating disorder and body image.

Derenne and Beresin (2006) have found out that media is the
powerful global effect of leading disappointments in men and women body image.
They believe that being exposed to mass media is associated with obesity and
negative body image which leads to eating disorders. They found out that eating
disorders are rising, there is an increased rate of men seeking professional
treatments and patients are being referred at increasingly at a younger age.
However, this literature mainly links on the media influences and not the
effects of eating disorders in relation to body image but finding the relation
between eating disorders, media and body image would support my hypothesis. The
limitation of this study is that the study did not show the specific eating
disorder which affects individuals body image. The merits of a study is the
study shown clear aspect of how the media affects individuals eating behavior.

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Eating disorders are not being well-known within
UK or not many sufferers are seeking medical help. Eating disorders are
increasing and is being associated with negative consequence and chronic mental
health conditions. The worldwide most common disorder is anorexia nervosa and
bulimia nervosa. According to the General Practice Research Database, the
incidence rate of anorexia nervosa was found to be 4.7 per 100 000 person
years. The main age start for anorexia nervosa is between 15 and 19 years old.
For female it is ten times more common than it is with men. The average age start
age for bulimia sufferers are around 18 years old. (Zhang & Wing, 2015)
According to Treasure (2016) young people aged between 9 and 14 years old,
found that 34% of male and 43.5% of female had eating disorder trait but fewer
than 20% of sufferers seeks for treatment. Large amount of percentage of
individuals with eating disorder did not seek help. There are various danger
signs in eating disorders such as having liver abnormalities would affect the
pulse rate, blood pressure and postural drops.

& Llewellyn-Jones (2001) studied
that shown teenagers and young people’s eating have changes within the past 20
years. Two study have shown a linkage between the menstrual cycle and food
intake in young women. Food group such as carbohydrate, protein and fats has
been increased a day or two before they start their menstrual cycles. Many
women feel depressed, short-tempered and mix feelings before they start their
period, however this causes it to be difficult to control food.

1 has shown the behaviour of 300 female teenagers aged 10-14 and 106 healthy women
aged 15-25 in percentage. The study has clearly shown that young people are
more concerned in keeping up with their body image and has lower self-esteem. (Abraham & Llewellyn-Jones, 2001)

Table 1.


Age 10-14

Age 15-25

Avoid eating between meals



Contributing in exercise alone






Skipped breakfast



Avoiding consuming food (keeping busy for



Counting calories



Weighting numerous times a day




psychological term of body dissatisfaction is phrased as “the picture of our
own body which we form in our mind” (Schilder, 1950) There are various media
influences during the past decades such as magazines containing questions as
“How happy are you with your body?” Within the television features, men and
women described how they wish they could be thinner, have large breast, slimmer
waist and many more. The media has influences on the society point of view and
expectation of the ‘perfect body’. 
(Ogden, 2005)

questionnaire has been used to measure various aspects of eating behaviours.
These are used to analyse the level of behavioural trait in participant. For
example, if emotional eating is an important aspects of an investigation, the
researchers may require their participants to complete the emotional subscale
of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. The high scorers of the subscale
would be considered susceptible to eating during emotional distress. Table 2
shows the most common psychometric questionnaire on eating behaviour. (Dovey,
2010) The participants are asked to complete psychometric questionnaires. It is
normally accepted in eating behaviour research that the best quantitative data
are derived from visual analogue scales.

Table 2.

Original paper

Questionnaire names

What does  it measure?

Gormally et al. (1982)

Binge eating scale

Assesses severity of binge

Henderson and Freeman (1987)

Bulimic Inventory Test

Measures symptoms and severity
of Bulimia

Thelen et al. (1991)

Bulimia Test-Revised

Measures the symptoms of

Whitehouse & Harris (1998)

Child Feeding Assessment

Measures mealtime negativity,
refusal of food and fussiness of food.

Birch et al. (2001)

Child Feeding Questionnaire

Measures parental beliefs,
attitude and practices on feeding child

Van Strien et al. (1986)

Dutch Eating Behaviour

Assesses restrained, emotional
and external eating behaviour

Garner et al (1983)

Eating disorder inventory

Measures the severity of
anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.


There has
been a study on the The Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and self-image disorders. There
are 217 undergraduate university students. BED is considered by episodes of
uncontrollable eating without any compensatory behaviour to avoid gain weight.
Individuals who suffer from eating disorders often show negative self –image. The
survey was the self-report questionnaires were given to the student. The
student was questioned about their age, gender, weight, height and their ideal
weight. In addition to evaluate uncontrollable eating, every participants
answered the Binge Eating Scale that was developed by Gormally, Black, Daston
and Rardin (1982) The result have shown on the BMI score is that 49 individuals
could be classed as too thin. 105 individuals considered to have normal weight
and 25 individuals as obese. 70% of individuals wish to get thinner and only
12.90% of individual are satisfied with their body weight. (Nicoli
and Junior, 2011)

Obesity is the major health problem within the
society we are living in. Body image has been determined by many factors such
as media. Being exposed to mass media such as television, movies, magazines and
internet is associated with obesity and negative body image which leads to eating
disorders. There has been a review changes in ideal female body type through
history, the comments on current attitudes toward shape and weight in men and
women, and outline intervention aimed at increasing healthy habits and
developing self-esteem. The result has shown that the ideal beauty has been
difficult to achieve and has been shaped by social context. Current mass media
is global and powerful that lead to increased body dissatisfaction along men
and women. The more children are exposed to media and encourage healthy eating
and contribution in physical activities to increase self-esteem. Parental
behaviors are being blamed in shaping children’s development. (Derenne and
Beresin, 2006)

There has been a
study on the relation between the usage of media and college woman. There has
been two variables which is the disordered-eating symptomatology and related
variables such as body dissatisfaction and the drive for wanting to be thin.
The second variable is the asses of the relation between the usage of media and
college men and their confirmation of being slim. The media usage for women has
been founded to predict eating disorder, the motivation to be slim, being
dissatisfied of body image and hopelessness. The participants were offered to
complete questionnaire, there was 232 women and 190 men who were the
undergraduate student in university. The results shown that the relation
remained important when awareness in health and slimming as media appears to be
related with a following increase in eating disorder. The exposure to these
media related initial concentrates in health and slimming as media topics is
not possible alternative description for this connotation. (Harrison &
Cantor, 1997)

There is a television
show called ‘Supersize vs super skinny’. The show represents the comparison of
fat and slim bodies constructs the fat body as negative and a danger that need
to be reformed. The presenter of the show argues that the show brings together people
who are suffering from obesity and underweight individuals who consume
oversized meals find it disgusted toward the food and to heavy bodies. in
portraying fat as dangerous, and showing knowledge to participants on what they
should eat changes the society behavior that it not acceptable to be too skinny
or overweight. Reality show, magazine and newspaper are not restricted as risk
in eating disorder and obesity. (Karin & Ulijaszek, 2016) There has
been a feedback from an individual who was featured in the show. Sandra Andrew
struggled to maintain the diet as she felt dehydrated and felt lack of energy
throughout the day. In the second day, watching someone else eating huge
portion made her realise what she was doing to herself. As days went by, through
many difficulties, she felt better after being used to eating lack of food
throughout the day as she feel more full and satisfied. Both of the participants
realizes how food affects their body mentally and emotionally. (Holt,2008)