London: Genetics may make some women more vulnerable to the pressure of being thin, scientists have claimed.
While pictures of size-zero models and ultra-slim celebrities are often blamed for making people less happy with their bodies, a larger factor in whether or not women idealise thinness lies in their genes.
“We’re all bombarded daily with messages extolling the virtues of being thin, yet intriguingly only some women develop what we term ‘thin ideal internalisation’. This suggests that genetic factors may make some women more susceptible to this pressure than others,” the study said.
Scientists at America’s Michigan State University assessed more than 300 identical and non-identical female twins on their attitudes to being thin.
They found that identical twins, sharing 100 per cent of their genes, had closer levels of “thin internalisation” as compared to fraternal twins, who share only 50 per cent. This indicated a “significant” role for genetics.
“We were surprised to find that shared environmental factors, such as exposure to the same media, did not have as big an impact as expected,” the Daily Express quoted lead researcher Jessica Suisman as saying.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.