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More Social Media Use Linked to Teen Eating Disorders

More Social Media Use Linked to Teen Eating Disorders

In a new study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, researchers found a link between social media use and teen eating disorders. Young people who spent a larger amount of time of the day on social media platforms–Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook–were more than twice as likely to have developed unhealthy eating habits and body image issues.

What are teen eating disorders?

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, nearly 3 percent of all teens, ages 13 to 18, struggle with an eating disorder at some point–and only a few get the help they need. Teen eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other mental health issues associated with a distorted view of their body and disordered eating.

teen eating disorders

Photo by jeshoots

It’s been shown that eating disorders affect adolescents and young adults much more often than others. However, general disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and negative body image affects a greater amount of people. This has been shown in studies of teens; around 50 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys use unhealthy means of losing weight, which can easily transform into one of the many teen eating disorders.

How do researchers explain the link?

It’s long been known that exposure to old forms of media, like television or fashion magazines, is linked to the development of teen eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image concerns; they explain that this is most likely due to the favoring of “thin” and “perfect” models or celebrities.

Now social media is different. Social media combines visuals with the chance to use social media to interact and propagate stereotypes–such as posting photos and editing them to look thinner. This can most definitely lead to disordered eating or teen eating disorders.

ViewPoint Center can help

ViewPoint Center is a mental health hospital for teens, ages 12 to 17. At ViewPoint Center, we provide superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization–all in a personalized environment for your child.

For more information about how ViewPoint Center handles teen eating disorders, contact us today at 801-825-5222!