Eating problems in mid-adolescence

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Eating problems in mid-adolescence

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies while rates of being overweight and obese are increasing, thin or even 'ultra-thin' bodies are often idealised in contemporary modern cultures, particularly for women. This ideal is unattainable for most and can generate body dissatisfaction and unhealthy eating behaviours.

Eating problems cover a broad spectrum of issues ranging from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, which can be life threatening, to problematic eating behaviours such as restrictive dieting, which can represent a risk for the later development of eating disorders (Arcelus, Mitchell, Wales, & Nielsen, 2011; Stice, Shaw, & Marti, 2007). Once established, eating disorders are difficult to shift and can be a chronic problem affecting health and quality of life across the life span (Smink, van Hoeken, & Hoek, 2013). A South Australian population-based survey conducted in 2005 identified the lifetime prevalence of eating disorders as 0.3% for anorexia nervosa (80% female), 0.9% for bulimia nervosa (84% female) and 2.3% for binge eating disorder (67% female) (NEDC, 2010).

Many eating problems develop in adolescence, with the peak incidence for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa between the ages of 15 and 19 (Micali, Hagberg, Petersen, & Treasure, 2013). The purpose of ‘Eating problems in mid-adolescence’ from the AIFS is to provide a 'snapshot' of how young people are faring in relation to eating problems at 14-15 years of age, the types of actions they take to control their weight and the association between those actions, particularly dieting, and physical and mental health outcomes.

Eating problems in mid-adolescence