Teasing contributes to children's eating disorder
Feb 12, 2006 - 5:57:37 PM
Distress over being teased about their weight and rejection by peers could lead to eating disorders in children, says a study.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota studied more than 2,500 children and found that weight teasing results in negative outcomes.
The research published in the recent issue of journal Pediatrics shows that children who had been teased about their weight could resort to unhealthy method in a bid to stop the taunts. They are more likely to try fasting, skipping meals, vomiting or using laxatives.
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer and other researchers surveyed the children twice, five years apart. At the initial survey, 23 percent of girls and 21 percent of boys said they had been teased about their weight "at least a few times a year".
Among girls, those who were teased were 80 percent more likely to report frequent dieting five years later. However, it was the boys who were likely to turn to unhealthy methods of losing weight, they said.
The researchers suggest that teasing may have a greater impact on boys because they are not used to facing a negative reaction to their weight.
Girls, in comparison, are constantly bombarded with a variety of media messages and images hammering home the need to stay slim.
Neumark-Sztainer said: "The great danger is that in starting an inappropriate diet a child may develop an eating disorder which has serious, or even fatal medical consequences."
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