Both underweight and overweight teens were known to consume 20 to 40% more illegal drugs than their normal-weight peers in s survey of more than 33,000 Italian high school students.
Further analysis showed that the relationship between these two factors was largely mediated by psychosocial factors such as self-esteem, parents' educational level, and friendships.
Based on these results, the authors conclude that abnormal weight and substance abuse are not directly related in a cause-effect relationship, but instead are likely both due to common underlying social factors and dissatisfaction.
"Eating disorders have largely increased during the last decades, and obesity is a major public-health problem, especially since the phenomenon is spreading among children. Thus we believe that the results are important to better define targeted interventions", says Dr. Sabrina Moinaro.