Up to half of U.S. adolescents engage in disordered eating behaviors, such as frequent dieting or vomiting, to control their weight. Understanding how these behaviors link to the body mass index (BMI) of people across their lifetime could help researchers design approaches to stop unhealthy eating and weight-management habits. A new study by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently examined the relationship and found that teens who engaged in disordered eating behaviors often have higher body mass index (BMI) numbers as adults.
The study was led by postdoctoral fellow Ms. Cynthia Yoon and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Dr. Yoon used 15 years of data from 1,230 people who began completing Project EAT surveys as teens (11-18 years) and continued into adulthood (27-33 years). Dr. Yoon reviewed survey answers to count the number of seven particular disordered eating behaviors participants reported using during adolescence:
Dr. Yoon also used the Project EAT data to determine the BMI of participants as adults. She then compared how the numbers of disordered eating behaviors tracked with their BMI.
The study found: