Parents of teenage girls might want to have another look at that attractive magazine their daughter is reflecting upon.
According to recent studies, teenage girls who read articles on weight loss and dieting in such magazines, are more prone to resort to drastic weight reducing techniques such as vomiting, laxatives or smoking more cigarettes, than those who don't.
The study, published in Pediatrics' January edition, was conducted by studying 2,516 Minnesota teens, almost half boys and half girls.
The teens were studied for five years, starting when they were about 13 to 15 years old and a follow- up done, 5 years later.
At the study's start, the teens completed surveys about dieting, body image, and self-esteem.
The survey also included this question: "How often do you read magazine articles in which dieting or weight loss is discussed?"
Forty-four percent of the girls reported reading such articles frequently, compared with 14 percent of the boys.
In results of the follow -up survey it was found that girls who read such magazines were twice as likely to develop unhealthy habits like skipping meals or fasting.
The risk of resorting to extreme methods of weight loss like use of laxatives and vomiting was seen three times more in girls who read such magazines as opposed against those who did not.
Says lead researcher Patricia van den Berg, "Frequent reading of magazine articles about dieting or weight loss strongly predict unhealthy weight-control behaviors in adolescent girls".
Efforts have been made to reduce body image issues due to media exposure. Some European fashion shows now require models to have a BMI of at least 18, and magazine editors say they include information about healthy eating and exercise in their articles.
As researchers say, young girls are the most likely to spend time reading magazine articles dealing with the best ways of slimming down and staying thin, but this can be very unhealthy and lead to a host of health problems down the road.