Using Facebook can increase the risk of developing eating disorders and lead people to obsess about their weight in ways that could prove dangerous.

According to a new survey by the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, 75 percent of Facebook users are unhappy with their bodies, and 51 percent say the social networking website makes them more conscious of their bodies. 

“Facebook is making it easier for people to spend more time and energy criticizing their own bodies and wishing they looked like someone else,” said Dr. Harry Brandt. 

“In this age of modern technology and constant access to smart phones and the Internet, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to remove themselves from images and other triggers that promote negative body image, low self-esteem and may ultimately contribute to eating disorders,” he added. 

The study which surveyed 600 Facebook users between the ages of 16 to 40, showed that 80 percent of participants logged into Facebook at least once a day, making it nearly impossible to avoid encountering photos of themselves and their friends. 

Reportedly, 44 percent said they wished they had the same body or weight as a friend when looking at the photos while 32 percent admitted feeling “sad when comparing Facebook photos of themselves to their friend’s photos.” 

Furthermore, 37 percent believed they needed to “change specific parts of their body when comparing their bodies to friends’ bodies in photos.” 

“As people spend more time thinking about what’s wrong with their bodies, less time is spent on the positive realm and engaging in life in meaningful and fulfilling ways,” noted the center’s associate director Dr. Steven Crawford. 

“We hope the results of this survey encourage people to really look at how their online behavior affects their outlook, and we caution them against being overly critical of their own bodies or other people’s bodies while on Facebook and other social networking sites.” 

SJM/TE 

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