Viral video exposes extreme airbrushing that could impact body image

The “BodyEvolution” video, posted in 2011 and 2012, has gone viral, again. The video captures the extent and ease of airbrushing in popular media and may reminds parents of its detrimental effects on kids.

Teens are bombarded with images of perfectly sculpted models, and it’s not uncommon for them to crave a similar look and physique. “[It’s] completely unattainable, because the photos have been extensively altered,” says Alison Field, ScD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Adolescent Medicine.

“Unfortunately, some youth believe they can achieve that perfect body and will engage in methods, healthy or not, in this pursuit. For females, that may mean extreme dieting, using laxatives, vomiting or other unhealthy behaviors. For males, who may be aspiring for six-packs or bigger, more defined muscles, it may mean using creatine, growth hormone or steroids,” she continues.

If your teen appears concerned about his or her appearance, Field recommends discussing healthy ways to change physique. She also suggests asking your child how a change in appearance will impact or improve his or her life.

Field recently published a research study in JAMA Pediatrics assessing boys’ concerns about their appearance and found overemphasis on weight and physique is prevalent among teenaged males. To learn more, click here.