We all love a good scroll through Instagram a few (okay, maybe more than a few) times a day, but what is it really doing to our minds? While it鈥檚 perfect for filling us in on the latest glitter eye makeup trends and even for adding a little zen into your life, too much peeking into other people鈥檚 seemingly perfect lives can leave you feeling a bit inadequate. And now, there鈥檚 proof that that feeling is real, at least in terms of body image.

sad lady on smartphone

New research out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that increased time spent scrolling through social media is linked to a higher risk of developing eating disorders and body image concerns. Yikes! The researchers surveyed 1,765 people aged 19 to 32, asking them about their use of 11 popular social media sites. Then they cross-referenced those results with another survey that used screening tools to assess the risk of developing an eating disorder. The results? The more time you spend on social media, the higher risk you have, statistically speaking, of developing an unhealthy body image.

鈥淲e鈥檝e long known that exposure to traditional forms of media, such as fashion magazines and television, is associated with the development of disordered eating and body image concerns, likely due to the positive portrayal of 鈥榯hin鈥 models and celebrities,鈥 says lead author Jaime E. Sidani in a release. 鈥淪ocial media combines many of the visual aspects of traditional media with the opportunity for social media users to interact and propagate stereotypes that can lead to eating and body image concerns.鈥

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The researchers say this could be due to a number of factors, including that people tend to put their 鈥渂est鈥 photos (in this case, the ones where they look thinnest) on social media, and that there鈥檚 tons of content on social media that outright encourages problematic eating habits. Whatever the cause, it sounds like a great reason to scale back on the scrolling a bit.

Does social media affect how you view your own body? Tweet us your experiences @BritandCo.

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