Dysmorphic Obese Individuals Conceal their Bodies Behind WhatsApp Profile Photos: Study

According to a study published on Tuesday, many obese persons also have dysmorphic disorder, a sickness in which a person has a skewed perception of their body, and hide their bodies in their WhatsApp profile photos.

Individuals who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder may feel anxious or ashamed of their bodies and are unhappy with how they look. Obese people with the disease think they weigh more than they actually do.

Lead researcher Antonella Franceschelli of Unicamillus International Medical University in Italy said, “This study suggests that something as simple as a WhatsApp profile picture could give doctors a valuable insight into whether someone living with obesity has body dysmorphia.”

The researchers clearly demonstrated body dysmorphia in a study including 59 obese individuals (49 females, 10 males, mean age 53 years, mean BMI 32 kg/m2). Ninety percent of the men and eighty-six percent of the women used profile images that were not accurate representations of their physical selves.

“Profile pictures of pets, family members, landscapes, flowers and cartoon characters may indicate the individual has body dysmorphic disorder,” Franceschelli stated.

The study also discovered that excessive concern over appearance is made worse by social media, where people frequently communicate unattainable ideals of physical attractiveness and form.

“People with body dysmorphic disorder can be particularly sensitive to these influences, constantly comparing themselves to idealised images and feeling inadequate in comparison,” Franceschelli stated.

A qualitative analysis of the WhatsApp profile photos of the 59 obese patients (mean age 53 years, mean BMI 32 kg/m2) was carried out by the research team.

The findings demonstrated that the patients’ profile photos had just their faces and no additional images, such as those of their families, pets, homes, cartoon characters, or flowers or other objects.

Crucially, the researchers discovered that the more severe or severe an individual’s obesity, the higher the probability of selecting an unrepresentative profile image. Franceschelli advocated for body dysmorphia screening to be a component of obesity treatment.

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