Exploring the lived experiences of women who use weight loss programmes and media influence.
(2015) Exploring the lived experiences of women who use weight loss programmes and media influence., no. 82.
This dissertation offers an exploration into the influence that media's portrayal of women's bodies has on ideal body images held by women who participate in weight loss programmes. Data were gathered from women between the ages of 26 and 49 who took part in two focus groups, during which they offered comment on overweight women in the media. There has been a poverty of research which specifically explores the experiences of women who have participated in weight loss programmes, and their perceptions of ideal body image. Previous research has focused on young girls (Dohnt and Tiggemann 2006; Bell et al. 2007; Hutchinson and Rapee 2007) and older women over the age of 50 (Gimlin 2007, Clarke 2002), with little interest in women aged between 25-50. Previous research has indicated that younger women are concerned with their body image and appearance for peer acceptance and assimilation, whereas older women seek body image changes for social status and identity (Borland and Akram 2007; Gimlin 2007). Current data adds to existing literature, as participants contrast the homogeneous attitude towards women in the media and previous literature to emphasise the unique experience women go through when trying to lose weight.