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Pressure to Diet in Teens Can Lead to a Cycle of Dieting Stigma in Adulthood

A study in the March issue of Pediatrics looks at whether adults encouraged by their parents to diet in their teens carry that message forward into adulthood and their relationships with their children. "Intergenerational Transmission of Parent Encouragement to Diet from Adolescence into Adulthood" in the April 2018 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 5) followed teens whose parents encouraged dieting to see if it had any negative effects on the teens as they moved into adulthood and became parents.

Researchers found that the negative effects of parent encouragement to diet created a cyclical pattern that can compound over time, affecting not only the person directly receiving the messages, but also generations to come. The study showed that young adult parents whose own parents encouraged them to diet in their teens were more likely to be overweight/obese, engage in dieting, binge eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors, and have lower body satisfaction as adults.  They also tended carry these messages forward to their own children and encourage them to lose weight and engage in other weight-focused communications within the family. 

The researchers suggest that future interventions in weight-control focus on helping parents break the cycle by taking the focus off dieting behaviors and encourage positive, healthy practices within the family.

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3/5/2018 12:00 AM
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