A new web site called Emer.ge has designed the web application The Body Image Voice to focus on the role of media and advertising on ideals and body image. The innovative Louisiana company is helping change the way people think about their bodies. They aim to improve the health of users, with a motto, “a healthy body is an ideal body.” The app will soon be available for mobile.
“The vision of Emerge is to empower individuals to shift focus from unrealistic appearance ideals and move towards health, balance, and optimal performance,” said Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Emer.ge’s parent company Body Evolution Technologies. “It seems basic, but science supports the idea that until we regard our bodies better, we won’t treat them better.”
The Emerge web site brings fresh perspective on body image where digital media meets behavior science. The web application focuses on a single component of body image – the role media and advertising play in shaping ideals of health and beauty. Users of the app rate the impact of images and ads and help quantify which messages they buy into. Research shows body image influences eating disorders and obesity, so the goal of this application is to promote and improve health behaviors.
The company is currently working towards partnerships with organizations focused on student health and the initial target population for the company’s products are college students. Stewart believes the research is gaining momentum and this is a major step forward for health behavior, body ideals and image, and reducing eating disorders. “Obviously, the trend of people moving to the extreme ends of the weight spectrum is concerning. However, there is some cause for optimism,” Stewart said. “In the past decade, we’ve made significant strides in identifying effective prevention approaches. For the first time, there are programs with data behind them that reduce eating disorder risk factors and improve body image.”
This progress is a starting point for applications that aim to improve health on a grand scale, not just because of another trend. “Given the relevance of body image as a health factor, and the fact that the majority of the general population struggles with body image in some way, we see an incredible opportunity for mobile programs that can measurably improve health behaviors,” said Stewart.