Diet Encouragement Linked to Disordered Eating in Youth

(HealthDay News) – Encouragement to diet by a significant other is strongly linked to young adults’ disordered eating behaviors, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Marla E. Eisenberg, ScD., MPH, from the University of Minneapolis, and colleagues used data from an online survey, collected from 2008–2009, to examine the role of perceived significant other’s dieting or encouragement of dieting in young adults’ disordered eating behaviors. A total of 1,294 young adults (mean age, 25.3 years; 55% female) with significant others were included.

The researchers found that perceived dieting and encouragement to diet were frequently observed. There was a positive correlation between disordered eating behaviors and significant others’ dieting and encouragement to diet, especially for females. This correlation remained significant for encouragement to diet even in models including both perceived dieting and encouragement. If a significant other encouraged dieting very much versus not at all, women’s binge eating was almost double (25.5% vs. 13.6%; P=0.015).

“There is a strong association between disordered eating behaviors and perceived modeling and encouragement to diet by significant others in young adulthood,” the authors write.

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