Is there a link between fitspiration and eating disorders?

IMG_5105Researchers 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.

We’ve written about fitspiration before and the negative images it can present. And while this study focussed on women, there are similar pressures on men although they are expressed differently.

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