Researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia conducted a survey of 203 women aged between 18 and 48 years old. They used the hashtags #fitspiration and #travel to find women who regularly posted fitspiration images (101 women) and travel (102 women) on Instagram.
The #fitspiration women were younger, around 26 years old on average,while the #travel group had an average age of 30. The women in the two groups did not have significantly different body mass indexes (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.
The survey responses painted a telling picture.
Women posting #fitspiration images had a higher drive to be thin and muscular than women posting #travel images. The #fitspiration group also scored higher on measures of bulimia and compulsive exercise, although both groups scored similarly on a measure of body dissatisfaction.
Almost one in five #fitspiration image posters were found to be at risk of an eating disorder with just one in 25 of the #travel group at a similar risk.