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Duke Students Weigh the Issue of Body Image

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DURHAM — There is a serious problem plaguing women in our society: the quest for perfection. Some women idolize skinny actresses and models and try to copy them, which often means doing whatever it takes to be thin.

Wednesday night a national expert on body image weighed in on the issue at Duke University.

Television shows and magazine covers often depict women and men that continue to get thinner and leaner. However, are these images reflections of reality? According to one expert they are not.

"If you ask people, 'Would you like to be much thinner than you are now?' many of them will say yes," Dr. Michael Levine said.

Levine is a college professor who speak to crowds on college campuses across America. His goal is to prevent eating disorders. Wednesday, he reminded a group of Duke students there is a difference between model images and real life.

"That is the question I want everyone to think about; what does it mean to be in a culture that glorifies slenderness and vilifies fat?" Levine asked the group.

Caitlin Krause got caught up in the images her freshman year. She says she ate so little her metabolism almost stopped.

"Every part of my body was being used to fuel myself and keep myself alive," Krause said. "That was a real hardship."

In the quest to be lean, dietitian Debra Adams says men and women are cutting carbohydrates out of their diets. However, she says that restriction could backfire.

"You'll start dreaming about pasta and baked potatoes," Adams said. "When you start introducing those types of foods back into your diet again generally, your weight increases just about as quick as it decreased."

Levine says one sign of an eating disorder is when food or exercise habits become disruptive. For example, working out at the gym two or three hours a day could indicate a problem. Reporter: Todd HauerPhotographer: David Renner