Increasing number of teens going under the knife - thanks to reality TV

Saturday, July 31, 2010

WASHINGTON - It’s not unusual for teenagers to follow fads they see on TV, but a new trend is taking this phenomenon a bit too far, says a new study.

Some reality TV shows tout happiness as just a nip/tuck away - and teens fond of these kinds of programs are more likely to join the millions who go under the knife each year, says Charlotte Markey, a Rutgers-Camden psychologist.

The study found that women are more likely to go under the knife than men and those who watched such shows, more so.

“There is lots of pressure to look a certain way and I don’t blame them for succumbing; we’re all guilty of feeling vulnerable.

“But what young men and women think of their bodies now will culminate over time and contribute to their overall health,” said Markey.

Markey points out that there’s no conclusive data suggesting cosmetic surgery increases happiness.

“If plastic surgery makes you feel better about yourself, then why do you keep getting it done?” she asks.

“This mindset is very similar to that of an anorexic wanting to lose just five more pounds.”

Markey concludes by saying that we need to teach children to be critical of the messages they’re receiving and tell them positive things now to foster self-esteem.

The research is published in the academic journal Body Image. (ANI)

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