Body image from waif Victoria Secret models, for example, appears to so affect a fair fraction of young women. In some cases, they choose to vomit their food or starve themselves until reaching near death states or worse. So I tend to actually take the "Devil's advocate" position here. Body image is subliminally transmitted from Hollywood imagery and otherwise (photoshoppery/fakery) and this minimally causes folks to diet/fast, spend billions on worthless exercise gear and pills and spa memberships, and a respectable number of people to die more or less.
8 million Americans have an eating disorder. http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm
About 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
Smolak, L. (1996). National Eating Disorders Association/Next Door Neighbors Puppet Guide Book.
Significant increase in incidence of anorexia occurred from 1935 to 1989, especially among younger women.
Hoek, H.W. (1995). The distribution of eating disorders. In K.D. Brownell & C.G. Fairburn (Eds.) Eating Disorders and Obesity: A Comprehensive Handbook (pp. 207211). New York: Guilford.
Although correlative, the rise in eating disorders in young women appears to track with visual media. Of course, maybe it is the radio or culture that is telling the girls to starve themselves. But the body image comes from somewhere I bet. Somewhere like mass media. Could be true.
I tend to feel such false image are subliminally affecting the population. Of course, you will argue causation here no doubt. This is always true that causation is difficult to prove.
Cigarette makers used advertising subtle movie-style and overt and even M.D.s to promote their products and they denied lung cancer causation successfully for decades and decades.
T.V., movies and other visual arts like magazines are invested in purely to make the populous homogenous and highly profitable. I suspect whether intentioned or not these approaches enter the subconscious regularly--like a religion.
The results seem obvious. People are overweight, lethargic, overspend, and fairly sickly imho. They are empty souls searching for meaning in their worlds by consumption of products that cannot fulfill them. So they consume more and more and more.
Of course, I am not sticking probes into people's heads regularly. However, such research should be simple enough to find in the medical literature. I tend to think in the old days people did not starve themselves to death as much.
This is just one example. One can pick any image in the visual media and come to similar hypotheses. It appears whatever is in the TV is working to debilitate many people.