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Study looks at body image and eating

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Dec 13, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- U.S. researchers have discovered a psychological difference between men and women occurring in the realm of eating and body image.

The study, led by Kristen Harrison of the University of Illinois-Champaign, found young men and women who perceive their bodies as being less than "ideal" ate differing amounts of food in a social setting after they were shown images of "ideal-bodied" people of their own gender.

"In the presence of same-gender peers, certain women eat less and certain men eat more following exposure to ideal-body images -- 'certain' in this case referring to women and men who have discrepancies between their actual body and the kind of body they think their peers idealize," said Harrison.

"We found that, following exposure to ideal-body images, men who are insecure about their bodies eat more in front of other men, while women who are insecure about their bodies eat less in front of other women."

Co-authors of the study are Professor Laramie Taylor of the University of California-Davis and Amy Lee Marske, a teacher at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Ill.

The study findings appear in the December issue of the journal Communication Research.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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