Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Diagnosing a public health problem: Photoshop

The fatter we get, the thinner we look in advertising. And our nation’s obesity crisis may eventually be coupled with anorexia and bulimia crises as well.

By Jonathan Purtle

So, if we were to decide that computer-altered images of the human form should be regulated, how exactly would we do it? Since some images are more deceptive than others, wouldn't an all-out ban or one-size-fits-all labeling requirement be a bit harsh? Computer scientists at Dartmouth College have a solution.

The public health community should advocate for widespread private sector adoption of Kee and Farid's scale in the name of social responsibility, and should press the federal government to explore the costs and benefits of mandating its use. If that sounds radical, try this analogy: the scale is to eating-disorder prevention as menu-labeling requirements are to obesity prevention. Both let you look at, and eat, whatever you want — but at least let you know what exactly it is that you're putting in your mind, and your body.

Read more about The Public's Health.