Facebook Use Linked to Higher Risk of Eating Disorders

First Posted: Mar 05, 2014 08:10 PM EST

Facebook is an online social networking service that is used by over 800 million people worldwide. Now, researchers have found that frequent use of this website can affect one's health.

Technology has changed society over the past few decades. According to a study conducted by Florida State University researchers, frequent Facebook use has been found to be associated with eating disorders. The study, led by Professor Pamela K. Keel, PhD, examined 960 college women who were Facebook users.

The findings, outlined in "Do You 'Like' My Photo? Facebook Use Maintains Eating Disorder Risk", were published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The researchers found that women who place a greater importance on receiving comments and 'likes' on various posts and uploads were shown to posses higher levels of disordered eating. This study is the first to reveal that spending 20 minutes on Facebook actually reinforces a woman's concern about her weight and shape, which then leads to a higher risk of eating disorders.

More information on this study can be found in a news release.

Researchers at American University conducted a study that took a different angle on the subject matter. Theirs involved the surveying of adolescent girls and their Facebook usage and sought to find how the social media website affected a young girl's sense of her body image.

Through a week's surveying of 103 girls, the researchers found that the type of information accessed on Facebook as well as how much time they spent on the site had the greatest affect on their self-image. The study was published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking back in December.

It has long been known that television, magazines, models, and advertising have affected how young girls and women viewed themselves, but now that Facebook and other social media sites are readily accessible on the omnipresent Internet, this issue could worsen as the generations progress.

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