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Women Are 'Happier' With Their Body Size After Seeing A Heavier Version Of Themselves

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Women have struggled with weight issues for years. The media portrays what is considered to be "beautiful," which unfortunately causes low self-esteem among women.

Many movements have been created to empower women to accept their body, and now a study conducted by a team of researchers at Oxford University may have created a solution for body and weight issues among women.

Body Alteration

In the paper Royal Society Open Science, researchers suggest that women feel better about their body when they see an altered version of it. When photos of women who were of healthy weight were slightly changed to show them at heavier weight, the women began to feel more satisfied with their bodies.

Dr. Helen Bould, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who also studies eating disorders among children, led the study. Bould stated that she and her colleagues wanted to see how this experiment would affect women who did not have eating disorders. The study was conducted on 90 women ages 18 to 25 with a healthy body mass index. 

Each of the women's perspective about their bodies changed after seeing the altered images. The team wrote in the paper that images of women with a healthy BMI could help reduce the majority of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among women.

Body Image In Social Media

Bould and her team also said that social media has played a crucial part in terms of body image among young women. Many doctors and experts have spoken out against editing images of women to make them look thinner.

Studies have also shown that "fat-shaming" is another harmful way of addressing weight loss among women and that women are more likely to gain weight even if they are of a healthy size, Bould claims. She added that when people are unhappy with the way they look, it is harder for them to want to make a change in their weight.

Bould suggests that even though it is hard to manage what a person sees on social media, changing what they always see could help in promoting healthy attitudes toward a person's body.

"We can tell young people to think about what they are looking at and whether it's helpful or unhelpful in the way that they look at their own bodies," Bould commented.

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