For all the Instagram addicts, we have some bad news for you. Scrolling through your Instagram feed may actually be contributing to the risk of you developing an eating disorder. The disorder? An unhealthy obsession with fitness food – ironic right?
The findings from the University College London (UCL) highlight the implications social media can have on psychological well-being, and the influence social media ‘celebrities’ (seriously, I question their celebrity status) may have over hundreds of thousands of individuals.
Social media use is ever increasing among young adults and has previously been shown to have negative effects on body image, depression, social comparison, and disordered eating. One eating disorder that you can develop is orthorexia nervosa, an obsession with eating healthy (if you’re prone to this, sad days).
Here’s where it gets bad, high orthorexia nervosa is prevalent in populations who take an active interest in their health and frequently occurs with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterised by a low weight, fear of gaining weight and a strong desire to be thin.
Researchers conducted an online survey of 680 social media users who were following health food accounts to investigate links between Instagram use and orthorexia nervosa symptoms.
“We assessed their social media use, eating behaviours, and orthorexia nervosa symptoms,” researchers said.
They found that a higher Instagram use was associated with a greater tendency towards orthorexia nervosa, with no other social media channel having this effect.
So, the next time you’re scrolling through your Insta feed maybe you should think for a minute and switch to Facebook or Snapchat or anything else. Better still, you could just stop using your phone altogether – how’s that?