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Here’s why Watching TV Makes Viewers Find Thinner Women More Attractive

Watching TV makes viewers prefer slimmer women, says study

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Researchers have found that watching TV makes viewers find thinner women more attractive. Pixabay

Watching just a few hours of television a week makes viewers find thinner women more attractive, according to a new study.

The research team from Durham University in UK, worked with men and women from a number of villages in a remote area of Nicaragua in Central America who either had regular or hardly any TV access.

They found that people with very limited access to TV preferred female figures with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) whereas people who often watched TV preferred thinner bodies.

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Televisions portray the thin ideal body of women which makes it more preferable. Pixabay

The findings, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, show that TV exposure can have a powerful impact on what people perceive as the ideal body.

“We showed the villagers a series of pictures, either showing larger women or thinner women. We found that after viewing these images, the villagers’ body ideals adjusted in the same direction,” said study co-author Tracey Thornborrow from the University of Lincoln.

“Our findings clearly demonstrate that perceptions of attractiveness are highly changeable, and are affected by what we are visually exposed to,” Thornborrow said.

For the study, 299 men and women from seven villages in the Pearl Lagoon Basin area of Nicaragua took part in the research. They completed a questionnaire about their ethnicity, education, income, hunger, language and TV exposure.

They were then asked to rate the attractiveness of pictures of female bodies with varying body shapes and sizes.

The villages in Nicaragua were selected because people were very similar in terms of their ecological constraints, such as nutrition, income and education, but had differing access to TV.

People in the villages in this part of Nicaragua generally did not have access to magazines or the Internet, and none of the participants in the study owned a smartphone.

Thin women
The researchers are calling on TV and advertising bosses to show people of all shapes and sizes in order to reduce the pressure on women. Pixabay

Only those people with electricity supplies to their homes as well as the money to pay for a TV and subscription were able to watch TV on a regular basis.

This meant researchers were able to isolate the effect of TV exposure from the other factors.

Those people with access to TV watched a mixture of Latin soap operas, Hollywood action movies, music videos, police “car chase” reality shows and the news.

“This study, utilising a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods with non-Western participants, provides yet more empirical evidence that the mass media impact female body size ideals,” said study co-author Jean-Luc Jucker.

The representation of this “thin ideal” in the media can lead to body dissatisfaction and can play a part in the development of eating disorders and depression, said the study.

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The researchers are calling on TV and advertising bosses to show people of all shapes and sizes in order to reduce the pressure on women and girls to aspire to a “thin ideal body”. (IANS)

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Early-life Screen Time Linked to Lower Physical Activity in Childhood: Study

Early-life screen time reduces physical activity in later childhood

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Researchers have found that children who spend more time looking at tablets or television screens as infants are likely to have low physical activity as they enter school age. Pixabay

Researchers have found that children who spend more time looking at tablets or television screens as infants are likely to have low physical activity as they enter school age.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, revealed that kids aged two to three who spend more than three hours a day viewing screens, such as tablets and televisions (TVs) grow up to be less physically active at age 5.5 years, compared to children who used screens for an hour or less each day.

The study, involving more than 500 children in Singapore, suggests that adhering to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to limit screen time to one hour per day or less among children aged two to five years may promote healthier behaviours in later life.

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Higher screen use in infancy was associated with around 30 minutes less light physical activity each day. Pixabay

“We sought to determine whether screen viewing habits at the age two to three affected how children spent their time at age five. In particular we were interested in whether screen viewing affected sleep patterns and activity levels later in childhood,” said Falk Muller-Riemenschneider, from the National University of Singapore.

Screen viewing is increasingly prevalent but excessive screen time in childhood has been linked to a range of health problems, including increased risk of obesity and reduced cognitive development, the researchers said.

For the findings, parents were asked to report how much time the children spent on average either watching or playing video games on TV, using a computer, or using a handheld device, such as mobile phone or tablet.

These screen habits were recorded when the children were aged two and again at age three. An average of the two recordings were used in the analysis.

physical activity kids
Screen viewing is increasingly prevalent but excessive screen time in childhood has been linked to a range of health problems, including increased risk of obesity and reduced cognitive development, the researchers said. Pixabay

At age five, the children wore an activity tracker continuously for seven days to monitor their sleep, sedentary behaviour, light physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Children in the study spent an average of 2.5 hours a day watching screens at age two to three.

Television was the most commonly used device and was associated with the longest viewing time. Only a small proportion of children in the study met WHO recommendations of one hour per day or less.

Also Read- Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Proved to be Harmful: Study

The findings revealed that children who had used screens for three or more hours a day between the ages two to three spent an average of 40 minutes more time sitting down each day at age five than did those who had used screens for less than an hour a day at the same ages.

Such higher screen use in infancy was associated with around 30 minutes less light physical activity each day, and around 10 minutes less moderate to vigorous activity each day, the study said. (IANS)