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Eating Disorders the Same Between Overweight and Thin Teens

By Stacie Overton Johnson

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research shows risk factors are the same for both being overweight and eating disorders.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota interviewed 2,516 teens about dietary habits, exercise, exposure to weight-related messages, family meals and whether or not peers or family members teased them about their weight. The researchers followed up with the teens and asked the same questions five years later. About 25 percent of the teens in the study were overweight.

Results of the study show 40 percent of the overweight girls and 20 percent of the overweight boys in the study were involved with extreme weight control behaviors like vomiting or taking diet pills to lose weight. One of the biggest risk factors for extreme weight control behavior in overweight teens was a history of teasing. Teasing by family members was worse than teasing by peers. Teens who were teased by family members had double the risk of being overweight five years later.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota, says experts typically look for extreme weight control behaviors in very thin girls, but these results show it?s also a concern for overweight girls. Neumark-Sztainer tells Ivanhoe, ?The findings were stronger than I expected. It points to a need for extreme sensitivity when dealing with overweight kids.?

Neumark-Sztainer says parents often talk at home about eating and weight. But she tells Ivanhoe, ?My message is talk less, do more. If you put healthy food on the table, kids will eat it.?

Neumark-Sztainer?s book, titled: I?m, Like, SO Fat! Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World helps parents deal with weight-related problems in their kids.
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