Memorable messages about body size can have profound negative psychological and emotional effects on body image and personal health. We found that both men and women recalled more negative than positive memorable messages about their body appearance and size. Participants who reported receiving negative memorable messages also revealed stronger current body dissatisfaction and poorer self-image than participants who reported positive memorable messages. Participants who received negative body comments also described their own body using negative metaphors. Negative memorable messages often occurred in front of third parties who expressed approval for the message, sometimes in the form of laughter. We discuss the mental health consequences of negative messages about body size and the implications for public health campaigns.
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- body image
- community and public health
- obesity / overweight