How Being Thin Can Hurt You .
In the past thirty years, America has become a nation obsessed with appearance. In the 1950's and 60's, Miss Americas and models wore a size 10 and rarely exercised. Now almost every woman and many men in America have tried some type of diet, and losing weight has become a national obsession. Studies show that 90 percent of high school students diet regularly, even though only 10 to 15 percent of them are considered overweight according to standard height weight charts. The problem is no longer restricted to teenagers and adults, but a recent study showed that 80 percent ten year olds are trying to lose weight (Hittner 84). Why does society says as a whole that we must conform to a ideal body size and shape that is unnatural for the majority of the population.
Body image is a complex topic that has fascinated psychologists for many years. It is related to the mental picture an individual has about their body, the way they feel about that picture, and the way they think others feel about that picture. The media is a major factor that affects body image. Media stereotypes such as fashion magazine models, television actors and actresses, movie stars, as well as .
advertisements have all lead to the unrealistic "ideal" body shape that modern society members compare themselves to. The average American woman today is 5"4"", weighs 142 pounds and is relatively heavier than the average American woman was 20 years ago. Yet models who grace the pages of practically any fashion, beauty, or fitness magazine are typically 5"10"", weigh 130 pounds and are relatively slimmer than models 20 years ago. Many models and actresses are 10 to 20 percent below their ideal body weight (Hittner 88), and weigh about 23 percent less than the average individual. . It is true that there has been an effort in recent years to include full figured models in some ads, but these ads are targeted mostly at older women.