Researchers: Attractive partners can lead to eating disorders in women

The partner's attractiveness influences the eating behavior of women
Nowadays, many people try to keep their bodies healthy and slim through exercise and nutrition. The body image in general can have a big impact on our decisions and behaviors, especially in relation to our diet. Our perception of the body is consumed by many different factors. These include, for example, images in the mass media and our general mood. Researchers have now found that a partner's attractiveness can be a driving force behind the desire for healthy eating and a slim body. These effects are particularly important for women.

In their current study, Florida State University scientists found that the partner's attractiveness can have a major impact on women and their weight. If women have an attractive partner, this can cause these women to try to get as slim as possible. In some cases, this even leads to serious eating disorders. The experts published a press release on the results of their study.

Physically attractive husbands can cause underweight problems in women
In their work, the medical team found that less attractive women were more motivated to look after their diet and get a slim body when their husbands were attractive. The results show that a physically attractive husband can have negative consequences for women, especially if these women are not particularly attractive, explains author Tania Reynolds.

More attractive women than you men have no increased risk of eating disorders
The identified additional motivation for a diet was not found in women who were more attractive than their husbands. For men, the motivation to go on a diet was generally low, regardless of the attractiveness of their wife or their own, the experts say. The results of the current study provide insight into the effects of relationships where the woman fears that she will not meet her partner's expectations. Understanding the predictors that increase women's risk of developing eating disorders and other health problems could lead to better prevention and faster help, the authors explain.

Social factors affect women's eating habits
Current research also suggests that certain social factors may play a role in women's eating habits, says Reynolds. It could help those affected if women are quicker to recognize whether they are at risk of developing so-called extreme weight loss behavior, which is associated with various forms of psychological distress, such as depression, anxiety, drug abuse and general dissatisfaction with life, the expert adds added.

Marriages are more successful when women are more attractive than their husbands
The study expanded existing research that had previously found that marriages are more successful when women are more attractive than their husbands. For their work, the experts examined 113 newly married couples, all of whom were married for less than four months. All participants had to fill out a long questionnaire, some of which related to the desire for a diet or a slim body. Possible answers were, for example: I feel guilty after eating, I like it when my stomach is empty or I'm afraid of gaining weight.

Whole-body photos of the subjects were assessed for their attractiveness
A full-body photo of each subject was taken and rated on a scale of one to ten, the scientists explain. One research group looked in particular at the facial attractiveness of the spouses, another team focused on the attractiveness of the body.

Men should always support their women and remind them of their strengths
The results of the study show that women tend to exaggerate if they want to be as thin as their partner. As a result, inappropriate diets and underweight bodies can result, author Reynolds explains. To help their women, their partners should keep reminding them that they are beautiful and loved regardless of weight or body shape. In addition, other strengths apart from attractiveness should be emphasized. For example: I appreciate you because you are a friendly, smart and supportive partner, the expert continues.

How do attractive girlfriends affect women's eating habits?
The next step should be that researchers try to find out if women are more motivated to diet when surrounded by attractive friends, Reynolds explains. If we understand how relationships between women affect nutrition and social predictors, which lead to unhealthy eating habits, we will be able to help those affected better, adds the scientist. (as)

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Video: The Neuroscience of Eating Disorders (December 2021).