Diets for Teens May Lead to Eating Disorders
For Immediate Release
According to recent research published in the U.S. medical journal, Pediatrics, diets for teens are three times more likely to become overweight than non-dieters.
The study tracked the dieting habits of 16, 882 participants aged nine to 14 over three years. It found that dieters gained more weight than those who did not. Dieters were also far more likely to binge eat and girls who dieted less often gained slightly less weight, but still significantly more than non-dieters.
“Essentially,” says Michelle Morand, Founder and Director of The CEDRIC Centre, “The study found that all dieting is counterproductive – children who dieted gained more, not less weight than non-dieters.” Morand, a recovered binge eater who now counsels others, isn’t surprised with the results. “When we imagine someone with an eating disorder, we think of a young woman with severe anorexia, and it’s easy to associate that image with extreme dieting. However, it’s harder to see the link between dieting and binge eating, but it exists. In fact , binge eating is a natural response to a diet that should be expected by anyone who diets.”
“Our culture is highly invested in the notion that diets work, to the tune of $33 billion a year,” Morand points out. “But 98% of diets fail, whether you’re 14 or 44.” In her work, Morand is seeing increasingly younger clients, and regularly receives calls and e-mail from parents of children who struggle with weight. “Dieting leads to a cycle of restrictive eating followed by bouts of overeating or binge eating. This is a natural, physiological response the body has perfected in response to starvation.” The fact that dieters were more likely to binge eat in the study than their non-dieting peers, supports this. “Without the diet, or a sense of restriction, there is no impetus to binge.”
“The cure for eating disorders addresses the root causes,” Morand explains. “And if you suspect your child is eating for emotional reasons, dieting is definitely not the way to approach the situation.” She says, “The more we emphasize weight and appearance, the more our children will engage in eating disorders like binge eating.”
The CEDRIC Centre, (Community Eating Disorder and Related Issues Counselling), specializes in the treatment of clinical eating disorders, sub-clinical disordered eating patterns, and related issues such as anxiety, depression, and distorted body image. Their registered clinical counselors provide bodywork, group, and individual counselling, as well as community outreach presentations for schools, educators, and health professionals. All of The CEDRIC Centre’s counsellors have recovered from an eating disorder, and are proud to have facilitated the recovery of hundreds of men and women in Victoria, BC and beyond.