Researchers have discovered that unhealthy dieting and unhappiness are both less likely when teenage girls are comfortable with their size.
According to a recent health news article, overweight teenage girls that are happy with their body images, such as their shapes and sizes, have better levels of self-esteem and are less likely to fall into depression. Research also shows they are less prone to unhealthy behaviors than other girls who do not like their bodies.
The University of California-San Diego studied a group of over 100 overweight teenage girls. Their research was conducted between 2004 and 2006.
According to a university press release, girls who had higher levels of self esteem about their body satisfaction did have lower likelihoods of unhealthy behaviors such as fasting, vomiting or skipping meals.
Kerri Boutelle, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UCSD’s school of medicine says their research did show a positive link among a teenage girl’s happiness with her body image and her behavioral and mental well-being also. She added that improving the girl’s body satisfaction might be an important piece of interventions with overweight teenage youth.
Boutelle said it is important to focus on enhancing the teenager’s self image while also providing the motivation and skills to affect these weight-control behaviors. This tactic might help protect the young girls from feelings of anxiety and anger related to being overweight or in a state of depression.
You can find out more about teenagers’ body image and self esteem by reading from the Nemours Foundation website. This recent study will be published in the issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health this June.