Teen girls who diet more likely to smoke and binge-drink: U of W study
FILE - An ashtray full of cigarette butts is shown in Omaha, Neb., in this March 28, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
Published Thursday, June 7, 2018 4:01PM EDT
If a teenage girl tries to diet, a new study from the University of Waterloo says, then she is more likely than her non-dieting peers to smoke and binge-drink.
The study was based on data from a survey of thousands of Canadian high school students about their experiences with certain behaviours and habits.
It found that girls who reported dieting were 1.5 times more likely to both smoke and binge-drink within three years of dieting than girls in general.
“Our findings suggest that dieting and other risky health behaviours may be related to common underlying factors, such as poor body image,” Amanda Raffoul, a Waterloo PhD candidate who led the study, said in a press release.
According to Raffoul, the link between dieting and more risky behaviours is particularly concerning because 70 per cent of female survey respondents said they had tried dieting at one or more points during the previous three years.
The researcher suspects the connection might have something to do with the “incredible pressure” teenage girls feel about their bodies, and people close to teenage girls might be able to alleviate that pressure by not focusing on weight as a specific indicator of health.