The effect the media has on eating disorders is very clear through statistics. Twenty-five years ago, when there was less media influence, the average model was 8% skinnier than an average woman. In today’s world, the number has risen to 23%. When the media showcases these models, they make them look even thinner with their technology; it sets an impossible body ideal for woman around the world. Still, many people strive for the “perfect” body. Anorexia and bulimia have recently started to be diagnosed at a high frequency for people as young as eight years old. Research has also found that about 40% of nine year olds have been on a diet. The internet has special websites to provide support for these young people that provide advice on how to actually cultivate these various eating disorders.
A solution that has been suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics is to limit a child to only one or two hours of television per day. They suggest that parents should watch these programs with them so that they can discuss the content together. Families should also make sure to provide nutritionally balanced meals for their child, and to inquire about their child’s eating habits at school during lunchtime. Parents should also monitor their child’s use of the computer to ensure that they do not venture to websites that promote eating disorders. It would also help parents if they are well informed about eating disorders and their specific symptoms as to intervene as soon as possible if they see their child exhibiting any of the possible symptoms. However, these are only suggested solutions that parents may or may not choose to follow. They, to everyone’s dismay, hold no power against the media’s influence on the average adolescent’s mind. Still, the president of the Eating Disorder Network of Maryland, Sharon Peterson, believes that our media is, “trying to enforce a slimmer ‘healthy’ model,” but that they are slowly, “starting to add more diverse sizes in their ads.”