Monday, February 29, 2016

Trainer helps client by gaining 5 stones

Personal trainer Adonis Hill gained nearly 5 stone to help his client lose weight.

He ate more than 8000 calories a day for 4 months, then he and his client Alissa Kane lost the weight together.

Adonis says he was overweight before he became a personal trainer and that "going back was scary".

Alissa says when she found out what Adonis had done, "I was overwhelmed. I didn't feel guilty until the moment I saw him big...I felt completely indebted."

It was filmed for the US TV show Fit to Fat to Fit.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

TV exposure linked to female body ideal

For the first time experts have been able to eliminate external factors and specifically pinpoint television as having a direct link with female body ideals.

Our study shows that television is having a significant impact on what people think is the ideal woman’s body

It is known that the perception of a woman’s perfect body shape is influenced by images of celebrities and models seen in the media.

However, in the past, there has been little attempt to control variables in order to isolate the effects of media exposure from other cultural and ecological factors.

Scientists examined preferences for body size in relation to television consumption of men and women in Nicaragua, Central America. Findings are published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Research involved assessing groups with different levels of access to Western media. This included people from an urban area, a village with television access, and a village with little television access.

It was found that the highest Body Mass Index (BMI) preferences were found in the village with least media access, while those living in urban areas preferred thinner female bodies.

This study has implications for women’s mental health and eating disorders in the UK as it provides further evidence of how the thin ideal promoted by the media creates body image dissatisfaction.

Dr Martin Tovee, a Reader in Visual Cognition at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience, co-led the research.

He said: “Our study shows that television is having a significant impact on what people think is the ideal woman’s body.

“Nicaragua provides a unique opportunity to study media effects as we were able to minimise variance in potential confounding factors and focus on the influence of visual media.

“The differences in television access allowed us to explore how media exposure affects the size and shape women aspire to be.

“Findings revealed that the more television exposure people receive, the thinner a female body women and men prefer – the amount of media access directly predicts body ideals.

“Overall, these results strongly implicate television access in establishing risk factors for body image dissatisfaction.”

Full article:


Monday, February 22, 2016

What does the perfect male look like

What does the "perfect" male look like? The answer is (unsurprisingly); it depends who you ask.

The image below details an original image (first one) of a man and 19 altered (photoshopped) versions of the same man. Each altered image depicts ‘male perfection’ from the viewpoint of a different country*. Individual countries altered one or more (personal choice) of the following physical characteristics: face, skin tone, body shape/size and muscle mass/tone.

Click on the image to view enlargement

*  China, Indonesia, Macedonia, the Philippines, Russia, Venezuela, South Africa, Serbia, Colombia, Spain, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Egypt, U.K., Portugal, Nigeria, United States and Croatia.

Additional Details


Thursday, February 18, 2016

UK's unhappy children

A survey* of 16 countries (990 UK children) has found that England's 8 year olds are among the unhappiest; children in Romania are the happiest. Foremost concerns included body image and issues related to school.

Enlarging on other issues around information technology, namely body image and self esteem Mr Taylor said:

“Many years ago you compared yourself with people who lived in your street or in your neighbourhood; now you can compare yourself and often unfavourably with supermodels, football stars and high achievers. Evidence shows that young people are worried about how they look, if they are good enough, if they match up with other people. I think we need to encourage them not to continuously assess themselves negatively against all sorts of peer groups, but to focus on whether they enjoy their life and do they get the opportunity to express themselves. We know what makes people happy; more than anything else its friends and family. We should spend more time with them, giving them high quality relationships; this is really the secret to well-being….

"I think we have the responsibility as a society [policy makers, parents and schools to think about well-being in a more rounded way. We tend to think about bits of children; we think about educational attainment, we think about risks, we think about crime and health. A classic example is yes, if you let your children play in the park, on the common or go off on their own and explore; there is a tiny chance of danger associated. There is a much higher possibility that they will be perfectly safe, they would enjoy outdoors, grow out of it and grow friendships and self confidence. I think sometimes we focus too much on the micro elements of young people’s behaviour and not [view them] as a whole, whether or not they are having a fully rounded life”.

Read Article


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I am not ugly

Recently AliceAnn's Jameson Meyer was told that pictures of her son Jameson was appearing on many Facebook posts. Jameson was born with Pfeiffer syndrome, which affects his cranial and facial features. Following a link that that was sent to her; Alice-Ann was shocked to discover that “someone found his picture funny and created a meme comparing him to a 'pug' ".

Upset she continued. ‘It jut did not resonate with me as even attempting to be funny and I couldn't understand the intent behind someone making that [meme]. Alice-Ann then attempted to have the hurtful meme tagged photos of her son taken down.

“It was like playing a cat and mouse game”, she said. “Every time we finally got Facebook to take one down, within an hour somebody would send us a link to another one.

“You click on the report button and report it for whatever content you think it is being missed used for. I don't know if that is what necessarily takes the picture down, but when I looked into it more I found the copyright claim. Every time I filled out the copyright form a photo was taken down usually within 24 hours”.

Alice-Ann then decided to confront the issue on Facebook itself. She began a ‘take the photo down’ meme and with the help of friends and other empathic users spread the message across the social platform and beyond; the story was picked up by her local news station and subsequently spread internationally.

“I've had a lot of people reach out”¸ said Alice-Ann about of her take down’ campaign, “and say 'I didn't know that was a real child on that photo. I saw your story on the news and I want to thank you for sharing what he has and what it's about and I'm so sorry for posting that meme'. It [campaign] extended into something more than just reporting the photo; I think that's pretty great”.

Alice-Ann’s touching message on Jameson’s photo reads:

I am not ugly
I am not weird
I am a boy
I want acceptance
I am loved by many

People post all kinds of things on social media; humour being one of the most commons reasons for a post. Hopefully, this story will help to spread the message that humour, when it's at the expense of someone else (especially an ill child) isn’t funny.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Gender based pricing - Women pay more

In December 2015 the York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs published the results of their study “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer.” Researchers documented the price difference of identical products that were only differentiated by the sex of the target customer. The study encompassed 5 industrial groups: Stores (24), Brands (91), Product Categories (35) and Products (794).

On average, across all five industries, DCA found that women’s products cost 7 percent more than similar products for men. Specifically:
• 7 percent more for toys and accessories
• 4 percent more for children’s clothing
• 8 percent more for adult clothing
• 13 percent more for personal care products
• 8 percent more for senior/home health care products

In all but five of the 35 product categories analyzed, products for female consumers were priced higher than those for male consumers. Across the sample, DCA found that women’s products cost more 42% of the time, equal 40% and men’s products cost more 18 percent of the time.

In every industry, products for female consumers were more likely to cost more. Specifically:
• Girls’ toys cost more 55 percent of the time, while boys’ toys cost more 8 percent of the time.
• Girls’ clothing cost more 26 percent of the time, while boys’ clothing cost more 7 percent of the time.
• Women’s clothing cost more 40 percent of the time, while men’s clothing cost more 32 percent of the time.
• Women’s personal care products cost more 56 percent of the time, while men’s products cost more 13 percent of the time.
• Senior home health care products cost more for women 45 percent of the time and cost more for men 13 percent of the time.

Over the course of a woman’s life, the financial impact of these gender-based pricing disparities is significant.

 Read study


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Celebrating faces full of freckles

London-based photographer Brock Elbank is on a mission to photograph as many freckled people as possible.
A self-confessed lover of the skin feature, he wants to celebrate freckles in all their glory.
For #Freckles he has so far photographed 90 people from around the world.


Friday, February 05, 2016

Prostate cancer cancer - raising awareness

At the end of last month Kurt Jewson decided to raise awareness about prostrate cancer and its associated symptoms; as 1 in 8 men in the UK (Kurt being one of them) are diagnosed with the disease.

The way he carried out the task (raising awareness) was to post the above picture of himself on Facebook with the following message:

"Here I am in all my tubby, pale & middle aged (I'm 44) glory.

"I've got a Catheter, Stoma (colostomy bag), scars where you can see them, scars where you can't, and hormone implants below my skin.
"I have another operation to come, and then radio and/or chemotherapy."

Mr Jewson explained that his symptoms began in mid 2014 with blood in his urine. Eventually (after dismissing it as an infection) his doctor sent him for a PSA (blood) test that lead to his prostrate cancer diagnosis.

"If my GP had simply taken some blood, and sent it off for a PSA test … then we would have caught this at an early, and much more manageable stage."

Men please take note; Mr Jewson’s self-imposed selfless act was done to educate and hopefully help you.

“A society becomes great when old men plant trees under whose shade they know they will never sit”
Greek Proverb


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Barbie - Reflecting a broader view of beauty

In March new Barbie dolls; tall, short and curvy will be available along side traditional Barbie and the more recent diverse race (skin tone) versions. Traditional Barbie was unveiled to the public in 1959; overtime she has got taller, thinner, blonder and younger looking.

Modern Barbie has been on the receiving end of much criticism in recent years. Specifics like the fact that an adult woman with the same physical proportions as Barbie would be approximately 5 ft 9 tall, weigh 7 stones, would walk on her hands and knees and be unable to have children, has added credence to opponents. Critics argue that her perfect size and shape was contributing to the rise in body image issues in children and women.

Mattel, who makes Barbie, explained the rationale behind the new more diverse dolls: [The dolls are] “more reflective of the world girls see around them. The variety of body types, skin tones and styles allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them. We have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty".

I think the new Barbie’s are a definite step in the right direction i.e. showing a healthy reflection of society. However, it does seem to have taken Mattel a long time to arrive at the decision.

Many things in the modern world influence the body types that girls believe to be ideal (e.g. advertising images) toys being only one. An important point to note about toys is that they are used in imaginative play. Imagination often utilise perfection, particularly if children are imagining themselves as Barbie. This means more realistic Barbie’s may not fit into the idealised, perfect, imaginary world of make-believe. Parents have an important role to play, as they can choose to buy more realistic looking dolls that are representatives of the girls and women around them. The more young girls see other children playing with the dolls the greater the likelihood that they will choose to play with them too.

It’s true that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Although the increased range of dolls has been welcomed, many on social media argue that the dolls are still not truly representative e.g. the curvy doll is only slightly larger than the archetype ‘thin’ version and that Ken has not had a representative makeover.

It will be interesting to revisit this post in a years time to see which Barbie dolls girls (and parents) are choosing.