Lawmaker wants FTC study on how ads may cause eating disorders

A House Republican said Wednesday that she'll soon propose legislation to study how commercial advertising creates body image expectations that lead to eating disorders.

On the House floor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) noted last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and said disorders like anorexia and bulimia can be genetic or caused by anxiety.

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But she also said pictures used in advertising can also set unrealistic expectations that force people to develop an obsession with their weight.

"The kinds of altered or Photoshopped images found in our media today can cause unrealistic expectations of what the body is supposed to look like, causing emotional, mental and physical heath issues, and often resulting in an eating disorder," she said on the floor.

Ros-Lehtinen said she hopes to introduce a bill soon that would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with eating disorder groups to study how commercials can promote these disorders. The bill would require the FTC to report to Congress on how to "best stop the destructive impact of this practice."

She also added that the bill would be aimed at looking at "how advertising can more closely resemble the true human form, while making sure that artistic expression and the freedom of media outlets are not restricted."

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