Studies show that media images have negative impact on body image – Jo

Co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence Jo Swinson MP has given the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) details of 172 scientific studies which show that exposure to idealised media images has a negative effect on body image for adults and children.

The portfolio of evidence gives a comprehensive overview of research examining the link between airbrushed media images and people’s dissatisfaction with their own bodies.

The Campaign for Body Confidence is calling on the ASA to amend its codes of conduct for advertisers to require airbrushed images of people to be clearly labelled.

Commenting, Jo said:

“This portfolio of evidence clearly shows the negative impact that idealised images in the media are having on children and adults alike, who are bombarded with these unrealistic and altered pictures on a daily basis.

“The media has a responsibility to protect audiences from these pressures, which can lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders.

“I hope the ASA will take this evidence into serious consideration and work with the Campaign for Body Confidence to look at how its codes of conduct could be changed.”

Commenting further, Centre of Appearance Research expert Phillippa Diedrichs, said:

“We now have two decades of research that shows that viewing ultra-thin and hyper-muscular models is harmful to people’s body image. We also know that showing people more realistic and diverse images of beauty can promote healthy body image and appeal to consumers. This is an excellent opportunity for industry, researchers, politicians and the public to work together to celebrate the beauty in all shapes, sizes and appearances”

The portfolio of academic evidence which Jo has given to the ASA can be viewed online:

Executive Summary and Annex 1 –

Annex 2 –

Annex 3 –

Annex 4 –

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