MINNEAPOLIS - An eye-popping new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health reveals 98-percent of females and 93-percent of males have some sort of eating, activity or weight-related issue as adolescents into young adulthood.
"We found that the problems didn't go away after adolescence, so it's not like this is just an adolescence thing," said Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a University of Minnesota Professor and the lead author of the study, called Project EAT.
The study compiled data from nearly 1,500 people over the past 16 years, starting when they were around 15. Project EAT looked into a diet, physical activity, weight control, and body satisfaction.
"When they feel like they're too thin, too fat or they just don't like the way they look, we actually see that does not serve as a motivator toward healthier behaviors, it serves as a detriment," said Dr. Neumark-Sztainer.
Which explains the other findings, too, that after 16 years - the number of females and males with unhealthy issues grew.
"We need to be giving messages and providing support that helps people to both feel good about their bodies and to engage in healthier behaviors," said Dr. Neumark-Sztainer. "We want to show them how to feel good about themselves. We want to show them how to take care of themselves through healthy eating and physical activity. We want to have family meals, we don't want them to feel bad about themselves."
Neumark-Sztainer plans to follow the Project EAT group to examine how eating patterns in adolescence influence adults health and parenting practices.