Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Risk factors for eating disorders

A survey of 2,516 teenagers in Minnesota has found that both overweight and normal weight children had similar disordered eating behaviours. Overweight teenagers (who made up a quarter of the sample) were just as likely to binge eat and take diet pills. 44% of the girls surveyed suffered from food-related problems compared to 29% of the boys. The study in the Journal of Preventive Medicine found that a third of the overweight girls vomited or took diet pills or laxatives in an attempt to lose weight. A history of being teased about being fat was one of the strongest predictors of risk for being overweight and extreme dieting. Teasing by family members doubled the risk of being overweight. Eating together as a family and being close to one's family both helped to prevent eating-disordered behaviour.

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