Pagoto explains body image research on NECN

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

November 09, 2012

New research shows a young woman’s body image is strongly influenced by her friends’ views of their own bodies. Sherry Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of medicine, told New England Cable News this morning that women can actually help others by avoiding criticizing themselves.

“What the study shows is how you speak about yourself does influence other people,” Dr. Pagoto said on NECN’s The Morning Show. “When you do refer to yourself, try to avoid those negative conversations. Talk about your healthy behaviors.”

The study, out of Canada’s Mount Allison University and published Monday, Nov. 5, in the journal Sex Roles, asked college-aged friends how often they talked to each other about weight issues, physical fitness, appearance, food and body images. Researchers said they found the women often developed the same body image as their friends, regardless of their own weight or appearance.