Train Wrecks, Talk Shows, and Power Tools: A Historical Perspective and Future Goals Regarding Media and Eating Disorders

How has our understanding of eating disorders both influenced AND been influenced by the media, and how has this changed (or not changed) over time? This lively presentation will combine evidence-based conclusions about media content and media effects with lots of humor and actual video segments highlighting some of the earliest shows covering eating disorders and how they compare with more recent shows. Using a range of media from the Karen Carpenter documentary to Reality TV, Carolyn Costin and Michael Levine will provide the audience with glimpses into how, over the past 30-40 years, television and other media have helped or hurt the understanding, prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Based on this deeper and more nuanced understanding of media and eating disorders, Costin and Levine will challenge professionals, family members, and sufferers to consider what their responsibility is and what they can do about media coverage to help ensure delivery of healthy, constructive messages. Media are powerful tools for positive changes, and this presentation seeks to help families and professionals to work together in harnessing that power for education, prevention, advocacy and support.