The study from Simon Fraser University in Canada found that as advertising campaigns increasingly use fewer images of models that are underweight and aesthetically flawless - instead utilising non-traditional models with larger body types - the tactic can have a detrimental effect on the public's lifestyle and eating behaviour.
The researchers including Lily Lin, from the California State University, conducted five experiments to see how subjects would react to cues suggesting that obesity was acceptable.
The findings have implications for both public policy makers and advertisers.
The researchers advise both to be mindful of how individuals' bodies are portrayed in the media, and develop new strategies that do not focus on suggesting any shape is 'good' or 'bad'.
The study was published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.


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