(HealthDay News) — Eating disorder education needs to reach overweight youth, according to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
For the study, Katie Loth, PhD, MPH, RD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues recruited participants from public schools in 1999 (3,072 individuals; mean age, 14.6 years) and 2010 (2,793 individuals; mean age, 14.4 years). The authors sought to assess trends in eating disorders by weight status and gender.
The researchers found that the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors and markers of psychosocial well-being among overweight girls and boys remained the same from 1999 to 2010.
However, among non-overweight girls over the same time period, chronic dieting, unhealthy weight control behaviors and extreme weight control behaviors decreased, while body satisfaction improved during this time period. Similarly, among non-overweight boys, the prevalence of unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors decreased, as did mean depression scores.
“Overall, findings indicate a strong need to ensure that messages about the dangers of disordered eating behaviors are reaching overweight youth,” the researchers wrote.
“Obesity prevention interventions should not overlook the comorbid nature of obesity, disordered eating, and poor psychosocial health; prevention programming should address shared risk factors, including dieting, media use, body dissatisfaction, and weight-related teasing.”