Cleveland Clinic psychologist continues research on body image

For women, the preference for thinness is pervasive across the Western world. But a new descriptive study found variability in how women in four different countries internalize messages about what their body should look like from the media, peers and family.

“The bad news is that, across all of these cultures, the women reported high levels of internalizing the thin ideal,” says Leslie J. Heinberg, PhD, Vice Chair for Psychology in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. But it seems to be worse for women in the U.S.

Internalization of these pressures is a risk factor for body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, depression and anxiety, she says.

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