Abstract Advertising conveys an aesthetic model that seems to have a negative influence on young women. However, it is unclear whether the media are the cause, or only act as a reinforcement of disorders related to body image, such as those associated with eating behavior (anorexia or bulimia). This study measures the influence that advertising (measured by recall scores) during a television program has on women with eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia) compared to healthy women. Experimental study of exploratory nature performed on a sample of young women with eating disorders and a control group. The influence of advertising was estimated by recall scores, obtained after viewing a real television program, which included two commercial breaks containing two kinds of ads: body cult advertising (showing thinness or promoting it) and neutral advertising. Young women with eating disorders better recall advertisements showing thinness and products for weight loss and pay less attention to other types targeted at their age and gender group. Television advertising seems to be more of a reinforcement for these women who are already dissatisfied with their body, rather than a direct cause of their body image disorder.