“Fitspiration” Linked to Eating Disorders in New Study


It’s all over social media: young women in sports bras and spandex pants stretching, running, lightly sweating with flawless make up and not a hair out of place.


“No pain, no gain!”

“What’s your excuse?”

“Strong beats skinny every time.”

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

“How do you want to feel this summer: fit or jealous?”



“Fitspiration,” as this content is termed, is intended to motivate individuals, particularly women, to exercise regularly. However, some fitspiration is undeniably more shame-oriented than motivational. A recent study suggests women are indeed picking up on the shame and internalizing fitspiration in unhealthy ways.


The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, studied 101 women who regularly posted “fitspirational” content on social media and a comparison group of 102 women who regularly posted travel images. The researchers found that the women who regularly posted fitspiration images scored higher on motivation to be thin and muscular, bulimia, and compulsive exercise. And, while compulsive exercise was correlated with disordered eating in both groups, the relationship was significantly stronger for the “fitspired” women. You can read the original study here.


Parents, do you wonder what goes on in your kids’ heads? Look at their social media profiles. When we post on social media, we naturally focus on what we value. Social media users of all ages (but especially teens and tweens) see their profile as an extension of themselves. They go there to tell the world what they think and how they feel. If you feel like your teen won’t talk, maybe you just are not listening in the right way… or the right place.


This study provides one more reason why parents should keep an eye on their kids’ social media use– it’s a place to spot a potential off-line problem.According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. By staying aware on social media, millions of lives can be improved and saved. While this area could use more research, it’s also possible that other destructive behaviors such as underage drinking, drug use, gang activity, and bullying could be spotted through monitoring social media use.


Monitoring is the new seat belt. Let Clean Router help you keep tabs on your kids’ online activity and block pornography, violence, and other illicit content from your home. Click here to get started!

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