the binge-eating files » Adolescents, teens

Adolescents / teens: youth, weight and obesity issues

Eating disorders among teens more severe than ever (Apr 29, 2023) by Caroline Hopkins  — Patients are being diagnosed with eating disorders at younger ages and in more serious condition, with both mental and physical symptoms appearing more urgent, experts warn. … more

Cyberbullying may cause disordered eating in younger teens   Washington Post (Dec 6, 2023) by Tracy Vonder Brink — Children who had been cyberbullied were twice as likely to exhibit disordered-eating symptoms, a study says. The number of things parents need to consider when it comes to their children and device use can feel overwhelming. Yet there’s another one to add to your list: Cyberbullying may be linked to the start of eating disorders in younger teens, according to a study released this fall. Encounters with cyberbullies often go hand in hand with texting and social media: Pew Research reports that nearly half of U.S. teens say they’ve been cyberbullied, most often about how they look. … more

Intermittent fasting warning: Experts say diet routine not as safe as generally believed (Nov 10, 2022) by John Anderer — Intermittent fasting continues to be heralded by dieters, nutrition experts, and doctors alike as a highly effective eating routine for overall health. Defined as forgoing food for more than eight hours at a time, the technique is touted as an effective way to control or lose weight and positively affect both long and short-term health. Despite a strong body of research pointing to these health benefits, very few research projects, however, have investigated the darker side of intermittent fasting. Now, new findings from the University of Toronto link intermittent fasting to dangerous eating disorder attitudes and behaviors among both adolescents and young adults. … more

‘Gateway’ foods like candy, pastries and frozen treats may lead to unhealthy teen eating   ScienceDaily (Sept 7, 2022)   New study about teen eating habits, led by a 16-year-old scientist, found ultra-processed foods may trigger additional unhealthy food choices. [The] study … found that certain ultra-processed foods, such as candy, prepackaged pastries and frozen desserts, may act as a ‘gateway’ and lead to increased intake of other unhealthy foods. 43% of the adolescents estimated that they increased their consumption of ultra-processed foods between 2019, before pandemic restrictions were implemented, compared to 2022, after pandemic restrictions were lifted. 57% of adolescents estimated that they decreased their consumption of ultra-processed foods between 2019 and 2022. … more

This competitive skier survived an eating disorder. Now the Ontario teen is sharing her story to help others.  CBC (Mar 14, 2022) by Logan Turner — Brooke Ailey, 17, works with non-profit Fast and Female to raise awareness about eating disorders … Skiing and that competitive drive bring a lot of joy to Ailey … but it’s also caused harm. In August 2019, after her mother recognized possible symptoms and brought her to a doctor, Ailey was diagnosed with disordered eating. “For me, it became destructive when I started looking at my body in a negative way … just like this mentality that if I wanted to be better, I needed to be lighter or I needed to be leaner” … Ailey was diagnosed with orthorexia, which is when someone becomes consumed by thoughts of healthy eating to the point it becomes detrimental to one’s own health. … more

More Teenage Girls With Eating Disorders Wound Up in the E.R. During the Pandemic.  New York Times (Feb 18, 2022) by Matt Richtel – A new C.D.C. study underscored the mental health issues facing teenagers in the past few years. During the pandemic, emergency rooms across the country reported an increase in visits from teenage girls dealing with eating and other disorders, including anxiety, depression and stress … more

‘It spreads like a disease’: how pro-eating-disorder videos reach teens on TikTok   The Guardian (Oct 16, 2021) by Kari Paul — Instagram has attracted a firestorm after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed internal research showing the platform downplayed proof of its toxic effects – including the rise of eating disorders – on children. But such issues are not limited to the Facebook-owned social media company. The Guardian has found a variety of harmful pro-anorexia hashtags remain searchable on the popular video-sharing app TikTok, where corresponding videos have billions of views combined. … more

If You Think Kids Are Eating Mostly Junk Food, A New Study Finds You’re Right   NPR (Aug 11, 2021) by Xcaret Nunez — Kids and teens in the U.S. get the majority of their calories from ultra-processed foods like frozen pizza, microwavable meals, chips and cookies, a new study has found. Two-thirds — or 67% — of calories consumed by children and adolescents in 2018 came from ultra-processed foods, a jump from 61% in 1999, according to a peer-reviewed study … which analyzed the diets of 33,795 youths ages 2 to 19 across the U.S., noted the “overall poorer nutrient profile” of the ultra-processed foods. … more

Pandemic has fueled eating disorder surge in teens, adults   AP News (May 23, 2021) by Lindsey Tanner – Many hospital beds are full. Waiting lists for outpatient treatment are bulging. And teens and adults seeking help for eating disorders are often finding it takes months to get an appointment. … more

Eating Disorders in Teens Have ‘Exploded’ in the Pandemic: Here’s what parents need to know.  New York Times (Apr 28, 2021) by Lisa Damour – As a psychologist who cares for adolescents I am well aware of the prevalence of eating disorders among teenagers. Even still, I am stunned by how much worse the situation has become in the pandemic. … more

Social media use linked to teen disordered eating behaviors   Physicians Weekly/Reuters Health (Dec 13, 2019) by Lisa Rapaport – Adolescents who are active on social media may be more likely to exercise excessively, skip meals or develop other forms of disordered eating, a U.S. study suggests. … more

More electronic device use tied to more sugar and caffeine in teens   ScienceDaily (Oct 22, 2019) – A new study found that more than 27% of teens exceed recommended sugar intake and 21% exceed recommended caffeine from soda and energy drinks. Males consumed more sodas and energy drinks than females, and youth in grade 8 consumed more than those in grade 10. … more

Some Teens Who Exercise to Build Muscle Might Have Eating Disorders   Medscape/Reuters Health (July 12, 2019) by Lisa Rapaport – Some teens who see themselves as puny and exercise to gain weight may be more likely to develop so-called muscularity-related eating disorders, a U.S. study suggests. … more

When Parents Encourage Children and Teens to Diet   Eating Disorders Review (Vol 29/No 2) – Parents who tell a child or teen they need to go on a weight loss diet might be surprised at the long-term outcome. According to Dr. Jerica M. Berge and researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, encouraging children and teens to diet can have harmful long-term weight, weight-related and emotional health effects in adulthood and can even be transmitted to the next generation (Pediatrics. March 2018) … more

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads   ScienceDaily (Jan 15, 2018) – Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a new report. … more

Disordered eating among young adults found to have long-term negative health effects   ScienceDaily (Nov 21, 2017) – According to a recent study, disordered eating among young adults has long-term effects on their health. Disordered eating among 24-year-old women and men was an indicator of higher body weight, larger waist circumference and lower psychological well-being as well as a lower self-evaluation of general health both at age 24 and ten years later. … more

Disordered Eating Affects Swaths of Youth With Diabetes  Medscape (June 10, 2017) by Norra MacReady – More than half of young patients with type 2 diabetes said they engage in disordered eating behaviors, such as bingeing and vomiting, the findings of a new study show. And among young people with type 1 diabetes, more than 20% reported these behaviors. … more

Weighing Words When Talking to Teens About Body Weight   Medscape (May 11, 2017) by Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD – Body shaming and weight stigma have become commonplace in our society. Decades of research evidence and high-profile examples highlighted in the media clearly demonstrate the presence of societal stereotypes and stigma against people who have a higher body weight. Unfortunately, youth who have a higher body weight are particularly vulnerable to weight stigma, most often in the form of teasing, victimization, and bullying. In fact, weight-based bullying has been documented as one of the most prevalent forms of bullying in youth and adolescents. … In our efforts to reduce societal weight stigma, the words that we use when talking about body weight are important. For example, adults report feeling stigmatized, negatively judged, and blamed when certain words, such as “obese,” “fat,” or “large” are used to describe their excess body weight. … more

Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents   Pediatrics (August, 2016) – Obesity and eating disorders (EDs) are both prevalent in adolescents. There are concerns that obesity prevention efforts may lead to the development of an ED. Most adolescents who develop an ED did not have obesity previously, but some teenagers, in an attempt to lose weight, may develop an ED. This clinical report addresses the interaction between obesity prevention and EDs in teenagers, provides the pediatrician with evidence-informed tools to identify behaviors that predispose to both obesity and EDs, and provides guidance about obesity and ED prevention messages. The focus should be on a healthy lifestyle rather than on weight. Evidence suggests that obesity prevention and treatment, if conducted correctly, do not predispose to EDs. … more

Boys With Eating Disorders Carry Higher Psychiatric Load Medscape Medical News (May 16, 2016) by Megan Brooks – Adolescent boys with eating disorders carry a higher psychiatric load, particularly depression, and present for treatment later than their female counterparts, new research suggests. Behavioral health professionals and pediatricians “should continue to be vigilant in screening for eating disorders as well as psychiatric comorbidities in the young male population,” said Samuel Ridout, MD, PhD … [who] reported the findings … at the 2016 American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2016 Annual Meeting. … more

Self-weighing may be a hazardous behavior among young women. Researchers found an association between frequent self-weighing and psychological state  ScienceDaily (Nov 9, 2015) – Self-weighing can be a useful tool to help adults control their weight, but for adolescents and young adults this behavior may have negative psychological outcomes. Researchers tracked the self-weighing behaviors of more than 1,900 young adults and found increases in self-weighing to be significantly related to increases in weight concern and depression and decreases in body satisfaction and self-esteem among females. … more

‘Bad’ genes lead teens to binge-eating ScienceDaily (July 22, 2015) – Binge-eating in teenagers may be linked to a gene variation, according to new research from the University of Queensland. The UQ Diamantina Institute’s Professor David Evans and a University College London Institute of Child Health team have analysed data from 6000 adolescents aged 14 and 16 and found that genetic variations associated with obesity risk could also predict binge-eating. more …

Stress and obesity: Your family can make you fat ScienceDaily ( Apr 6, 2015 ) – Adolescent obesity is a national public health concern and, unchecked, places young people on a trajectory for a variety of health issues as they grow older. A new study suggests a relationship between long-term exposure to three specific types of family stressors and children becoming obese by the time they turn 18.  more…

Obese teens’ brains unusually susceptible to food commercials, study finds ScienceDaily (May 21, 2015) – TV food commercials disproportionately stimulate the brains of overweight teenagers, including the regions that control pleasure, taste and — most surprisingly — the mouth, suggesting they mentally simulate unhealthy eating habits that make it difficult to lose weight later in life. more …

Teen brain scans reveal a key to weight loss   ScienceDaily (Feb 18, 2015) — MRI scans of teenagers who had successfully lost weight and kept it off show that they have higher levels of executive function — the ability to process and prioritize competing interests. Executive function is a trait that can be improved, scientists say. more…

Risk of nutritional deficiencies in obese teens   ScienceDaily (May 4, 2014) – A new study exposes the risk of nutritional deficiencies in severely obese teens – both those who had weight loss surgery and those who did not. At least five years after undergoing gastric bypass surgery, teens and young adults maintained significant weight loss but were at risk of nutritional deficiencies, particularly low iron, mild anemia and low vitamin D. The study also found low iron and low vitamin D in severely obese teens who did not undergo weight loss surgery. Those who didn’t have surgery also had low levels of protein in their blood.   more …

Obesity, depression linked in teen girls, new study shows.  ScienceDaily (Mar 21, 2014) – Depression and obesity have long been associated, but how they relate over time is less clear. New research shows that adolescent females who experience one of the disorders are at a greater risk for the other as they get older. It is unknown why no associations across time between the two disorders were found in male adolescents, but researchers hypothesize that it could be a result of different developmental processes leading to obesity and depression in males and females.   More …

Teen girls: obesity linked to lower academic performance.   Medical News Today (Mar 11, 2014) – Obesity carries with it many health risks, such as cardiovascular disease, prediabetes and many types of cancer. But now, a new study has found a link between obesity in adolescent girls and lower academic levels throughout their teens.  The researchers, from various universities in the UK, have published the results of their study in the International Journal of Obesity, and they say theirs is the first comprehensive study to look into the association between obesity and academics in teens.  More …

Obesity may disturb bone growth during teen years   Reuters  (Dec 18, 2013) by Shereen Jegtvig – Obese teens might not develop sufficient bone mass relative to their body weight, according to a new study from Brazil.   Both body fat and lean body mass have an impact on bone growth, but it’s not clear if the bones of the heaviest teens are strong enough for their weight and that could have long- and short-term consequences.   Link 

Two in three 13-year-old girls afraid of gaining weight   ScienceDaily (Dec 16, 2013) – Six in ten 13-year-old girls, compared to four in 10 boys the same age, are afraid of gaining weight or getting fat according to new research on eating disorders from the UCL Institute of Child Health (UK) in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK).   Link

For obese teen girls, aerobic exercise may trump resistance training in health benefits   ScienceDaily (Nov. 7, 2013) — Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the United States in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … SoJung Lee of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her colleagues recently showed that when obese adolescent boys increased physical activity alone, they improved several markers of health…To see if physical activity might work in the same way for obese adolescent girls, Lee and her colleagues performed a new study that compared the health effects of two different types of exercise — aerobic exercise and weight lifting — over three months to remaining sedentary.  Link 

Developmental approach to obesity in children, adolescents   ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2013) — New studies of factors affecting the risk of obesity in children and adolescents — as well as promising approaches to prevention and treatment — are assembled in the special October Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics…The special issue includes ten new research papers addressing obesity in every period of development: from early and middle childhood, through adolescence and young adulthood.  Link

The 200-pound anorexic: Obese teens at risk for disorder, but it’s often unrecognized  (Sept 22, 2013) by Melissa Dahl – Hear “anorexia” and you think bone-thin young women — scary-skinny runway models with emaciated figures. But an overlooked group of young people are also struggling with anorexia nervosa: overweight and even obese kids.   Adolescents with a history of obesity are at “significant risk” for developing anorexia, says Dr. Leslie A. Sim, clinical director of the Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program, in a recent paper in Pediatrics. But because of their size, their symptoms often go unrecognized and untreated, Sim says.   Link

Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder   ScienceDaily (Aug 22, 2013) New research indicates that teens with anorexia nervosa have bigger brains than teens that do not have the eating disorder. That is according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine that examined a group of adolescents with anorexia nervosa and a group without. They found that girls with anorexia nervosa had a larger insula, a part of the brain that is active when we taste food, and a larger orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that tells a person when to stop eating.   Link

Dieting youth show greater brain reward activity in response to food   ScienceDaily (May 2, 2013) — The story is a familiar one: most people are able to lose weight while dieting but once the diet is over, the weight comes back. Many of us can personally attest that caloric deprivation weight loss diets typically do not produce lasting weight loss. Oregon Research Institute (ORI) senior scientist Eric Stice, Ph.D., and colleagues provide results in a recent issue of NeuroImage that further our understanding of how and why most weight loss diets fail and provide a more comprehensive description of the impact of caloric restriction.    Link

Overweight teens get mental health boost from even small amounts of exercise   ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2012) — Being obese at any age is commonly associated with a litany of health issues, ranging from diabetes and chronic fatigue to heart complications. Overweight adolescents are also at an increased risk of body dissatisfaction, social alienation and low self esteem, which is why Dr. Gary Goldfield, registered psychologist, clinical researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, set out to discover how exercise might impact these factors in teens, as reported October 1 in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.  Link

Obesity and metabolic syndrome associated with impaired brain function in adolescents   ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2012) — A new study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine reveals for the first time that metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with cognitive and brain impairments in adolescents and calls for pediatricians to take this into account when considering the early treatment of childhood obesity.   Link

Feeling fat may make you fat, study suggests   ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2012) — They’re everywhere — in magazines, on the Internet, on television — people with super-thin bodies who are presented as having the ideal body form. But despite the increasing pressure to be thin, more and more of us are overweight. Now, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found that normal weight teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be fat.    Link

Group program helps teens keep weight down    Reuters Health (July 3, 2012) by Kerry Grens – Four  months of weekly group discussions and physical activity sessions helped overweight teens lose weight and keep some of it from coming back, in a new study.  The changes – seven or eight pounds, on average – were “modest,” but the study program represents one of the few weight-loss strategies shown to be successful among adolescents, researchers said.  Link

Big girls don’t cry: Overweight teens who are satisfied with their bodies are less depressed, less prone to unhealthy behaviors  ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2012) — A study to be published in the June 2012 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health looking at the relationships between body satisfaction and healthy psychological functioning in overweight adolescents has found that young women who are happy with the size and shape of their bodies report higher levels of self-esteem. They may also be protected against the negative behavioral and psychological factors sometimes associated with being overweight.  Link

For many girls, slimming down doesn’t help self-esteem:  Teens who were formerly obese often still view themselves as fat, study finds  US News & World Report: Healthday News (Apr. 3, 2012) – Weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to a boost in obese teenage girls’ self-esteem, according to a new study.  “We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” study author Sarah Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.   Link

School obesity programs may promote worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in kids  ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2012) – In a new poll, 30% of parents report at least one worrisome behavior in their children that could be associated with the development of eating disorders.  A new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health examines the possible association between school-based childhood obesity prevention programs and an increase in eating disorders among young children and adolescents.  Link

High levels of fructose consumption by adolescents may put them at cardiovascular risk, evidence suggests   ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2012) – Evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat, researchers report…Fructose, or fruit sugar, is found in fruits and veggies but also in high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener used liberally in processed foods and beverages. Researchers suspect growing bodies crave the cheap, strong sweetener and companies often target young consumers in ads.  Link

Images in magazines and on television increase body dissatisfaction   ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) — Adolescents who read magazines and watch television contents that deal with the concept of image prove to be unhappier with their own bodies. Girls are more susceptible to experiencing a lower perception of their physical appearance. Body dissatisfaction is linked to the type of content that is consumed (diet, beauty, health or music videos) rather than the frequency of exposure.  Link

Prevalence of eating disorders among adolescents studied   ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2011) — Eating disorders are prevalent in the general U.S. adolescent population and are associated with other psychiatric disorders, role impairment, and suicidality, according to a report posted online March 7 that will appear in the July print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.   Link

Teens who think they’re overweight more likely to try suicide  ScienceDaily (May 21, 2009) — Being overweight — or simply believing they are overweight — might predispose some U.S. teens to suicide attempts, according to a new study.  The study looked at more than 14,000 high school students to determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and suicide attempts, as well as the relationship between believing one is overweight — whether true or not —and suicide attempts.   Link

Young vegetarians may have healthier diets but could be at risk for disordered eating behaviors  ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) — Although adolescent and young adult vegetarians may eat a healthier diet, there is some evidence that they may be at increased risk for disordered eating behaviors.   Link

Boys have greater psychological well-being than girls, due to better physical self-concept, study finds  ScienceDaily (Feb. 12, 2009) — A PhD thesis defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) has investigated the relationship between adolescents’ perception of their physical qualities and their psychological well-being and unwellness.  Link

Why women should feel good naked (Jan. 23, 2009) — For years Laure Redmond hated her body: too fat, too freckled, too lumpy, too stumpy. And that hatred was like a set of shackles holding her back from life. Author says she finds that women comfortable with their own body are nicer to other women.  Now a self-esteem coach who specializes in mind/body issues, Redmond has made a career of helping women and teenage girls get over what she calls their body demons. Her goal for them is summed up in the title of her 2001 book: “Feel Good Naked.”  It’s not about naked for naked’s sake, she says it’s about the amazing confidence that comes with being at ease in your own skin.  Link

Nearly 1 in 5 teenagers admit eating problems, but anxiety is a bigger problem than appearance  ScienceDaily (June 5, 2008) — Eighteen per cent of school children who took part in two health surveys carried out a year apart admitted they had eating problems, according to research published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.   Link

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