Dieting might lead to smoking and drinking tendencies among teenagers

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A slim body figure is in fashion amongst teenaged girls these days. Intentional weight loss might increase the risk of developing health-compromising behaviour like smoking, binge drinking and skipping breakfast, warn researchers.

What the research says

According to a research done by  Amanda Raffoul from the University of Waterloo, CanadaTeenaged dieters were 1.6 times more likely to smoke and skip breakfast, and 1.5 times more likely to smoke and engage in binge drinking than those who were not dieting. Post-puberty changes often lead to weight gain among girls and there is incredible pressure from social media and elsewhere to obtain and maintain the ideal body.

The study included data from 3,300 high school girls. The results showed that compared to girls who were not dieting at the time of initial data collection, those who were dieting were more likely to engage in one or more clusters of other risky behaviours three years later. The results showed that compared to girls who were not dieting at the time of initial data collection, those who were dieting were more likely to engage in one or more clusters of other risky behaviours three years later The link between dieting and other health-compromising behaviours is worrisome since 70 per cent of girls reported dieting at some point over the three years.

The Do’s and Dont’s 

  • Intentional weight loss is not something we should necessarily encourage, especially among this population, since it’s possible that well-meaning initiatives that promote dieting may be doing more harm than good.
  • Instead, we should focus on health broadly rather than weight as an indicator of health.

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