School of Communication and the Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)
diet culture, adolescents, anti-diet, communication
Art and Design
Spurgin, Emily Elise, "Breaking Diet Culture: Utilizing Anti-Dieting Messaging for Healthier Adolescents" (2022). Masters Theses. 918.
Every day, an adolescent is exposed to hundreds of outlets telling them their bodies are not good enough. With each one of these exposures, it does not take long before the young person starts to believe they are not enough. By incorporating anti-diet messaging into a young person’s everyday life, they are more likely to respond to harmful messaging with critical thinking, leading to healthier adolescents. Anti-diet “means standing against [our current] oppressive system, in all its sneaky, shape-shifting forms” (Harrison). Research shows that adolescents have little to no information provided to them on a daily basis that will help them navigate the world of diet culture. Social media has set an unrealistic standard for both adolescents and adults. These standards are likely to lead to mental and physical health issues, such as disordered eating. When it comes to anti-diet, having parents/guardians involved creates an environment of success. There are several ways to help an adolescent cope with self-esteem and diet culture. With changes to how the subject is approached, negative issues can be averted. With the everyday use of social media, it is crucial to incorporate voices that combat the negative information adolescents are exposed to. By providing a young person a safe place to ask questions as well as having peers and guardians who can help them, there is a better chance that the negative messaging will be replaced with a positive message. Communication between guardians and adolescents needs to improve by focusing on helping the young person shift their mindset around diet and body image. By implementing anti-diet messaging into an adolescent’s daily life, a young person has a better chance of combating diet culture messaging.