Two-Thirds of 13-Year-Old British Girls Fear Weight Gain

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February Volume 25, Number 1
©2014 iaedp

In what is believed to be the first report of its kind outside the US, British researchers have reported that 6 in 10 13-year-old girls (compared to 4 in 10 boys of the same age), are afraid of gaining weight or of getting “fat.” The high rate of concern about weight was discovered in a collaborative study at the Institute of Child Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (J Adolescent Health 2013; 10:200). Dr. Nadia Micali of the National Institute for Health Research,  and colleagues used data from over 7000 participants in the Children of the 90s Study at the University of Bristol. Within the 3 months before the study, 27% of the girls and 23% of the boys had used exercise to lose weight and 26% of the girls and 14.5% of the boys had restricted their food intake by fasting, skipping meals, or throwing away food. Binge-eating affected 4.6% of the girls and 5.0% of the boys, and those teens who did binge-eat had 50% greater odds of being overweight and twice the odds of being obese by the age of 15.  Dr. Micali noted that the study results indicated that in both boys and girls behaviors typical of an eating disorder were more common and occurred at a younger age than previously thought.

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