Positive Body Image Campaign Causes Decline in Women’s Health

By Lee Ann Santore ’19

Plus size models.png

Many researchers suggest that it is in the best interest for consumers to ignore the “body size issue” for the sake of their physical and mental health. An experiment conducted by Lily Lin, of California State University, and Brent McFerran, of Simon Fraser University, investigated how strongly advertisements can influence a woman’s health choices. Women participating in the study were asked to view images of either thin or obese mannequins while imagining walking past clothing stores, and to then rate statements relating to obesity. The results showed that those who had viewed the overweight mannequin, gave the obesity statements higher ratings of normalcy and were more likely to accept obesity as normal. The study also required women to view images of obese women with one of three different captions. The captions read: “for normal women,” “for plus-size women,” or “for women.” While the women looked at these images and read their captions, they were given cups of chocolates. The results showed that diction can cause women to believe that unhealthy eating is socially acceptable, as the women whose captions read “for normal women” ate the most chocolates. The results suggest that advertisements using larger models can endorse unhealthy eating habits and create a false sense of what is healthy. Researchers recommend that advertisements feature women of healthy weights to avoid these negative consequences.



  1. Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffanddayna/3159483107
  2. Readhead, Plus-size models contribute to obesity epidemic, researchers say.” Metro. (2015).



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