Magazine headlines entice teenage girls with promises: “Get the body you want” and “Hit your dream weight now!” But a new study suggests reading articles about diet and weight loss could have unhealthy consequences later.
Teenage girls who frequently read magazine articles about dieting were more likely five years later to practice extreme weight-loss measures such as vomiting than girls who never read such articles, the University of Minnesota study found.
It didn’t seem to matter whether the girls were overweight when they started reading about weight loss, nor whether they considered their weight important. After taking those factors into account, researchers still found reading articles about dieting predicted later unhealthy weight loss behaviour.
Girls who read dieting articles were twice as likely five years later to try to lose weight by fasting or smoking cigarettes, compared to girls who never read such articles. They were three times more likely to use measures such as vomiting or taking laxatives, the study found.
“The articles may be offering advice such as cutting out trans fats and soda, and those are good ideas for everybody,” said Alison Field of Harvard Medical School. “But the underlying messages these articles send are ‘You should be concerned about your weight and you should be doing something.‘”
Source: The Times Of India