We read words everyday - whether it’s an article, a book, or just a text message. Some of these words are subtly helping people with eating disorders, and others are making things worse - some sufferers even seek out fiction they know will make them more ill.
New research suggests that language itself is a factor. Certain words like "slender" instinctively glamourise thinness, whereas literature that creates emotional bonds may help people eat healthier. Some eating-disorder sufferers have reported that reading Bridget Jones's Diary made them want to be less weight-obsessed than her!
Oxford researchers are working on an app that will put this new understanding to good use, to help anorexia sufferers overcome the disorder. It will track changes in mood, physiology, and weight, but it will also feature lots of original content - stories, articles and self-help advice - that are specially designed to aid recovery. There will even be music, poetry, and games, too!
You are what you read!