Search icon


21st Jun 2024

New research shows detrimental impact celebrity weight loss content is having

Sophie Collins

weight loss

Despite the growing body positivity movement, 2024 has also seen a resurgence in the obsession with weight loss

Celebrities are openly discussing their use of Ozempic and Mounjaro for expensive but quick weight loss, and its effects are starting to snowball.

Searches for “weight loss exercises” have skyrocketed by 552% over the past year, while queries for “quick weight loss” have surged by 581%. 

This is reflected across social and traditional media, where content related to “fat-burning” and “quick weight loss” methods has increased by 296%. 

On TikTok alone, there are now over eight million posts about weight loss workouts in 2024.

However, discussions around exercise for mental health remain significantly less prevalent according to research carried out by Asics. Videos focusing on “exercise + weight loss” have risen by 204% this year, overshadowing those centered on exercise and mental health by 33%.

This intense focus on physical weight loss brings with it unrealistic body standards and negatively impacts mental health. 

New research from Asics reveals that 42% of UK adults feel insecure and experience mental health declines due to ‘quick weight loss’ content. 

Additionally, nearly two-thirds (59%) believe that celebrity weight loss content is the most detrimental to mental health on social media, with 70% stating that it does not motivate them to exercise.

The broader implications are concerning, with 80% acknowledging that the media’s focus on celebrity bodies harms self-esteem, and 72% agreeing that society’s obsession with the perfect body is detrimental to mental health.

In response to this trend, Asics is promoting a different perspective on weight loss. Partnering with fitness and body positivity influencers, including Em Clarkson, ASICS aims to disrupt social media with an alternative weight loss message that emphasises the mental health benefits of exercise. 

weight loss

The “15 Minute Weight Loss” campaign features videos that initially appear to offer instant weight loss solutions but ultimately reveal that just 15 minutes of exercise can significantly improve mental health.

Research conducted by Asics with Professor Brendon Stubbs from King’s College London shows that just 15 minutes and nine seconds of physical activity are enough to start experiencing mental health benefits. 

Gary Raucher, EVP of Asics EMEA, highlights the importance of this campaign, stating, “The increasing focus on exercise purely as a tool for weight loss is worrying. Research shows that society’s obsession with exercising for the ‘perfect’ body is adding pressure and putting people off exercise. Today’s campaign is a crucial reminder for people to move for their minds, and not just for how it changes their bodies.”

Professor Brendon Stubbs emphasises the broader benefits of exercise, noting, “By becoming too focused on the short-term and often narrow possibility of losing weight, we are neglecting the profound and multifaceted benefits movement can have on our minds. The fact is that weight loss is hard and it takes time. 

“Many people stop exercising before this happens because they become despondent when quick weight loss is not visible, or in some cases not possible. Instead, if people focus on doing exercise for enjoyment and the mental health benefits, people are not only protecting their minds but are also much more likely to remain engaged in exercise in the long term.”

Psychologist Dr. Tara Quinn-Cirillo added: “Evidence suggests that quick-fix weight loss, through diet and exercise fads, often leads to only short-term gains and negative long-term consequences. 

“The desire to lose weight quickly, perpetuated by societal norms and pervasive digital weight loss content, can be damaging to self-esteem and self-worth, as people strive for an ideal that society has cultivated. 

“The result can cause people to obsess over using exercise only as a way to change appearances. What often gets overlooked is the power of movement to support better overall health.”

To learn more about Asics’ alternative weight loss message, visit Asics 15 Minute Weight Loss.