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The Biggest Loser: Children Essay

671 words - 3 pages

Television viewing is a major activity for children and young adults all over the world. The programs and advertisements presented on TV depict men and women with impossibly perfect bodies. Studies have shown that, with the advent of the television, children are beginning to diet and become dissatisfied with their own body image at a younger and younger age.A study by the Harvard Medical School found that eating disorders in the Pacific island county of Fiji multiplied at an alarming rate within only three years of the TV’s introduction there. A 1998 survey reported that the number of adolescent girls who vomited to control their weight increased by 500 percent only 38 months after the television made it’s way onto the island. In the same survey 74 percent of Fijian girls thought that they were fat and that those who watched TV three or more nights per week were 50 percent more likely to consider themselves fat (HMS News). Until TV arrived in Fiji, the women considered to be attractive were typically those who were large. Fijians correlated a high social position with those who were large. The cultural norm on the island, prior to 1998, was to eat beyond nutritional satisfaction.Here in America, young teens respond to the television’s impact in much the same manner. Childhood obesity has been on the rise for the past two decades but despite this, most advertisements on TV come from the fast-food industry. Reportedly, McDonald’s alone spends six million dollars a year on advertising. Diana Levin of Wheelock College stated thatSager 2over one-third of teenage girls in America report dieting and discontent with their bodies (Changing the Channels). She reports that overweight children experience depression related to their low self image and are more susceptible to the feel-good advertisements.Television’s negative effect on children’s self image isn’t just limited to America. Western programming is presented in much of the world. Australian teens spend an average of two and half hours per day in front of the TV and in that time a child may see as many as 75...

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