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Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

The negative impact of social media on mental health is well documented, but now researchers in the UK are warning that your favorite memes can affect your mental and physical health.

In a written statement to UK parliament, academics warned that memes can “normalize undesirable behaviors such as trolling, body shaming and bullying, and a lack of emotion may be indicative of a larger apathy with regards to such practice.”

The statement also warned that memes are contributing to the country’s teenage obesity crisis by making light of unhealthy eating. Speaking to The Telegraph, one of the researchers, Dr. Ashley Casey, explained that memes can serve as validation for otherwise socially shunned eating habits.

“Basically it is unacceptable for you and I to have a conversation saying I just ate a whole chocolate cake,” Casey said. “But if someone puts a meme up about it then I can say ‘that’s normal and that’s okay, that’s how I feel and that’s almost how I behave.’

“Internet memes are generally viewed as entertaining but they also represent a body of cultural practice that does not account for the specific needs and rights of teenagers,” the researchers warned.

Do you think memes can have an impact on health? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

In other news, Rihanna reportedly declined Super Bowl Halftime performance in support of Colin Kaepernick.

Senior Staff Writer

Berlin-based writer and Rihanna enthusiast.

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