Teenagers who go on crash diet and use unhealthy weight-control behaviors at an increased risk of being overweight or obese, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Their study, which appears in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, says that adolescents with unhealthy weight-control behaviors are thrice as likely to be overweight over the next five years.
The use of diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics also means that adolescents are at an increased risk of falling a prey to out-of-control binge eating and self-induced vomiting. "This study shows that a shift from dieting and drastic weight-control behaviors to long-term healthy eating and physical activity is necessary among adolescents," said Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., study author and professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota. "A change in lifestyle is needed to prevent obesity and eating disorders in this population." The researchers arrived at these conclusions after a longitudinal study of over 2,000 youngsters. They followed them up to five years and analyzed their BMI, overweight status, binge eating, extreme weight-control behaviors, and eating disorders. The teenagers also took part in two Project E.A.T. surveys in 1999 and 2004 to determine if dieting and weight-control behavior put them at increased risk for obesity.
Contact: Liz Bryan
University of Minnesota