Philadelphia, PA, June 24, 2011 Adolescents who diet and develop disordered eating behaviors (unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating) carry these unhealthy practices into young adulthood and beyond, according to a study conducted by University of Minnesota researchers and published in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
"The findings from the current study argue for early and ongoing efforts aimed at the prevention, early identification, and treatment of disordered eating behaviors in young people," commented lead investigator. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD, Professor, Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. "Within clinical practices, dietitians and other health care providers should be asking about the use of these behaviors prior to adolescence, throughout adolescence, and into young adulthood. Given the growing concern about obesity, it is important to let young people know that dieting and disordered eating behaviors can be counterproductive to weight management. Young people concerned about their weight should be provided with support for healthful eating and physical activity behaviors that can be implemented on a long-term basis, and should be steered away from the use of unhealthy weight control practices."
Using data from Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults), a 10-year longitudinal study aimed at examining eating, activity, and weight-related variables among young people, investigators from the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, examined the records for 1,030 young men and 1,257 young women. One third of participants (29.9%) were in early adolescence (mean age = 12.8 years) at the beginning of the study and were in early young adulthood (mean age = 23.2 years) at the 10-year follow-up.
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