Eating Disorders Education May be Counterproductive
In efforts to reduce the hazard of eating disorders in teenage girls, it is often proposed discussing the dangers with premenarchial girls.
However, work at the University of Sydney suggests that such an approach may be counterproductive.
The authors found premenarchial girls usually have no experience of weight control and similar behaviour, and equate ‘diets’ with healthy eating, not with weight control.
The relationship of ‘dieting’ to weight loss did not come until puberty or unless the child was actually overweight.
The normal increase in body fat in females associated with a rapid increase in height and weight at puberty may serve to focus attention on these issues. Thus calling attention to these matters may tend to encourage unhealthy behaviours. Interventions may not always be beneficial.
Source: Abraham S, O’Dea JA.Body mass index, menarche and perception of dieting among peripubertal adolescent females. Int J Eat Disord 2001
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