The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
Kids who get discouraged by idealized athletic bodies on social media may end up dropping out of sports, a small study suggests.
In a preliminary study of 70 kids who played — or used to play — sports, researchers found that some had quit because they thought they didn’t have the “right” body for the activity. And most got that idea from media images, including TikTok and Instagram posts.
Experts said the findings add to evidence that unrealistic, often “filtered” or “edited,” images on social media can make some kids feel bad about their own bodies.
And in the case of kids who play sports, the study suggests, those feelings could translate into action: quitting.
That outcome would be “heartbreaking,” said researcher Dr. Cassidy Foley Davelaar, considering all that kids can gain from participating in sports.
She is scheduled to present the findings Sunday at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington, D.C. Studies released at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Of kids who’d quit, the main reasons were poor body image, along with issues with coaches and competitive pressure. Among kids who’d quit because they thought they “didn’t look right,” about two-thirds said they often compared themselves with images in the media and on social media.
Overall, the study found, girls were much more likely to have quit sports than boys: Over 35% had, compared with 10% of boys. Girls also tended to have more body image concerns, with close to half saying they “looked worse than the ideal.”