What if I Get Fat?

Let's be honest-we all stress about it!

What if I Get Fat?

Let’s be honest—we all stress about it!

-Jane Farrell

Worried woman

If you think you’re not worried about your body image, you may be wrong.

In a study, researchers at Brigham Young University showed normal-weight women pictures of thin and fat women and asked them to imagine that their body looked like the subject of the photograph.

According to a study conducted at Brigham Young University, brain scans taken as the women looked at the fat pictures showed a spike in activity in an area of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex, that is believed to be involved in the evaluation of self-worth. (The women had been psychologically screened to make sure that they had a normal perception of body image.) When the women were shown pictures of thin women and asked to imagine themselves at that weight, there was no increase in brain activity.

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Anorexic and bulimic women, shown photographs of fat women, responded with even greater brain activity than the “normal” women. Men of normal weight showed no change in brain activity whatsoever. However, a previous study showed that male body builders have the same response to “fat photos” as bulimic women.

Researcher Mark Allen, a neuroscientist at Brigham Young, said the differences appeared to be related to social conditioning rather than gender roles. “It’s not really a male-female difference, so much as it’s the social pressure [to be thin],” he said.

Allen said the results may show how even women who are seemingly well-adjusted when it comes to body image could find themselves with an eating disorder. (Live Science)

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