Heavy Dieting and Eating Disorders

Is there a link?
Heavy dieting in and of itself is not considered an eating disorder. However, a recent study has indicated a link between severe dieting and the development of eating disorders in teenagers. The study showed that adolescent girls who dieted severely were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than girls who did not diet. Girls who dieted at a moderate level were still 5 times more likely than girls who did not diet to develop an eating disorder. Overall, girls were 7 times more likely to develop and eating disorder than were boys of the same age (14 and 15 years old).

Your Options
How can you control your weight without risking an eating disorder? Try exercise. It is well known that exercise benefits many more aspects of general health than just weight control. Exercise can also improve a girl's psychological well being. This is of great importance, given that this study also found that girls who were both severe dieters and had mental health problems had a greater than 25% chance of developing an eating disorder within a year.

Be careful!
Since we are not in the habit of trying to lose readers, one note of caution is in order. Excessive exercising is known to be a part of some eating disorders. Too much of anything is not a good idea, and this includes both dieting and exercising. If you are concerned about your weight, you should talk to your doctor to develop a plan that includes exercise and/or dieting at a safe level. Exercise, combined with a healthy and nutritionally well balanced diet, is often the key to weight control.

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