Disordered Eating Persists From Adolescence to Adulthood

Disordered eating and dieting behaviors track within individuals from adolescence to adulthood

FRIDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Dieting and disordered eating behaviors that begin during adolescence continue to be prevalent in early adulthood, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of disordered eating, dieting, and extreme weight-control behaviors in 2,287 young adults, and whether these behaviors continue from adolescence to young adulthood. The participants were followed up for an average of 10 years in two groups: a younger age group with an average age of 12.8 years at baseline and 23.2 years at follow-up, and an older age group with an average age of 15.9 years at baseline and 26.2 years at follow-up. Longitudinal trends in prevalence of behavior were assessed, and the relative risks of behaviors present at baseline were estimated to track behaviors over time.

The investigators identified a high prevalence of dieting and disordered eating that remained constant or increased from adolescence to young adulthood. These behaviors were tracked within individuals, with tracking more consistent in older girls and boys transitioning from middle adolescence to middle young adulthood. At the 10-year follow-up, an increased risk of dieting or disordered eating was identified in participants who engaged in these behaviors during adolescence.

"The prevalence of dieting and disordered eating behaviors was high and either remained constant or increased from adolescence to young adulthood," the authors write.

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