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Media fuels eating disorders

23rd February 2010

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said the media needs to halt the portrayal of eating disorders as glamorous or aspirational.

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The RCP said the media were responsible for the promotion of harmful images that contributed to eating problems. It added that the use of very thin models and airbrushed pictures was 'unhealthy'.

It said it wanted people with different body types represented in the press and in advertising.

The RCP said a forum should be set up, made up of MPs, magazine editors and eating disorder specialists, in order to decide on a 'new ethical editorial code'.

It also wants to see a kite mark added to images which have been airbrushed so that readers were aware that the image had been manipulated.

Dr Adrienne Key from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Eating Disorders Section said: "There is a growing body of research that shows the media plays a part in the development of eating disorder symptoms - particularly in adolescents and young people."

"That's why we are calling on the media to take greater responsibility for the messages it sends out."

The RCP said they were worried about the prevalence of magazine features on diets which do not include data about eating disorders or 'extreme diets'.

However Annabel Brog, editor of teenage magazine Sugar, said: "We try so hard to be a positive influence on weight and body image. I would challenge anyone to look at Sugar over the last three years and try to find examples which could contribute to eating disorders."

 

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