Disordered Eating in Instagram Fitness Inspiration Models
In the article titled “”Strong beats skinny every time””: Disordered eating and compulsive exercise in women who post fitspiration on Instagram, researchers conducted a study to see whether women who post images on Instagram about “”fitspiration”” were more likely to participate in disordered eating than women who primarily posted images about travel. They sent out surveys to women on Instagram from both groups that posted at least ten fitness inspiration photos and the other group that has posted at least ten travel photos.
The study found that the women who posted about travel did not have as many body image issues as the fitspiration women who posted pictures. Those who conducted the study suggest the fitness-centered women had more of an interest in maintaining a body type that society deems beautiful and fit than they had in actually being fit. It seems to be more important to look the part. They also suggested that society’s obsession with being thin motivates them to do whatever is necessary to remain that size, even if they need to restrict their calorie intake and over-exercise. The women who had more posts related to travel were not as concerned about their body image or thinness.
The researchers also believe that the images the fitness inspiration models post on Instagram can negatively affect the viewers of the post, especially teenagers. They believe the extreme obsession of these women to look a certain way can go hand-in-hand with eating disorders such as bulimia and can be associated with unhealthy habits such as purging or extreme calorie restriction. Being malnourished while still trying to maintain an active lifestyle can be dangerous for the body. This also sets a bad example for young women who idolize these fitspiration women. The study was one of the firsts to tackle this topic and researchers thought it was necessary to begin looking into this due to the increasing popularity of fitspiration posts on social media.