New Study: Dieting Linked To Smoking In Teenage Girls
Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 15, 2007
New Study: Dieting Linked To Smoking In Teenage Girls — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Teenage girls who start dieting are nearly two times more likely to also take up smoking regularly, compared with teenage girls who are not dieting.
Not surprising at all…According to this research study, teenage girls who are on diets are twice as likely to begin smoking than their non-smoking counterparts. The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
This is just another grim example of how badly teenage girls want to be thin; so much so, that they are willing to risk dying of lung cancer or heart disease, rather than to be fat. What does that say about our society? Between eating disorders, lung cancer, heart disease, and other related illnesses…Could a poor body image become the leading cause of death among women? Could it already be???
Dieting and weight loss is a multi-million dollar industry (maybe more with FDA approved “diarrhea” pills…aka Alli) that prey on insecurities and negative self images, of (mostly) women. And thanks to television and magazine covers, more and more women have a false impression of what a healthy weight is, or what “thin” should look like. A great example was the MTV awards, where a bad performance by Britney Spears, was actually overshadowed by controversy over her weight. Honestly, if Britney Spears is considered fat, than I must be morbidly obese.
Like most women, I struggle with my weight as well. When I was younger, losing weight had more to do with wanting to be “thin”, now it’s mostly due to mounting health issues (such as high blood pressure). As a health and wellness blogger, I like to focus on healthy eating habits as the best method for weight loss, not fad and starvation diets. But before we can begin a healthy eating lifestyle, we need to have a realistic and “healthy” self image…one can not come without the other. So how can we do that in todays society? Well, it’s not going to be easy.
A recent BlogHer post by Maria Niles…
For every advance we make in countering the constant drumbeat of messages telling women that, no matter what, our bodies are not good enough and that we should feel shame, hatred and disgust there are many more that reinforce the message.
From Beauty and the Breast…
The forum has published the study in a very readable, appealing magazine called Faking It: The Female Image in Young Women’s Magazines. From an article at ABC News in Australia, here are some of the study’s findings…
In young teenage girls, looking at pictures of thin, idealized models is likely to cause lowered satisfaction with their body and a high state of depression. Reading fashion and beauty magazines is associated with wanting to lose weight and initiating diets. A five-year study found that reading dieting advice in magazines was associated with skipping meals, smoking, vomiting and using laxatives in teenage girls.
This is a war, a war on women, and a war on young girls. It’s a war we can not afford to lose. So, what will it take for us to win this war? Let me know what you think.
Here is what I think…
WOMEN! Love Yourselves. You are perfect, just the way you are.