Teens who diet may not be going through a phase -- they could be continuing that behavior into adulthood, a study finds.
Researchers followed a group of teens -- 1,030 boys and 1,257 girls -- for 10 years. At the beginning of the study, the participants ranged from early to middle adolescence (about 13 to 16), and at the end they were in their early to mid-adulthood (ages 23 to 26).
About half of the girls and one-fourth of the boys said they had dieted in the last year. Those numbers stayed pretty consistent for all girls, but for older boys dieting increased as they got older, going from 21.9% in mid-adolescence to 27.9% in middle young adulthood.
Unhealthful weight control practices included engaging in the following one or more times in the last year: fasting, eating very little food, using food substitutes, skipping meals and smoking. Extreme weight control behavior included taking diet pills, using laxatives or diuretics, or throwing up one or more times.