Teenage Girls with Weight Worries and Dieting are at Higher Risk to Experience Depression Symptoms, Study Suggests

Feb, 2021 - By SMI

Teenage Girls with Weight Worries and Dieting are at Higher Risk to Experience Depression Symptoms, Study Suggests

A new study led by the researchers of University College London (UCL) have suggested that teenagers especially girls who are focusing significantly on weight loss are at higher risk of experiencing more symptoms of depression, in comparison to previous years. Researchers also revealed a stat stating that in 2015, 42% of 14-year-old girls and boys tried to lose weight, compared to 30% in 2005.

Dr. Francesca Solmi, Lead author from UCL Psychiatry stated, “Our findings show how the way we talk about weight, health and appearance can have profound impacts on young people's mental health, and efforts to tackle rising obesity rates may have unintended consequences. An increase in dieting among young people is concerning because experimental studies have found that dieting is generally ineffective in the long term at reducing body weight in adolescents, but can instead have greater impacts on mental health.”

In the study, researchers evaluated data of 22,503 teenagers in the U.K., in three different decades, who were a part of three different cohort studies.

All the research participants were questioned about their weight, whether they included dieting or exercise to reduced weight, and their perception regarding their weight such as underweight, right weight or overweight, and they filled out questionnaires that assessed depressive symptoms. Later, researchers observed that in 2015, 44% and 60% of all participants involved dieting or exercise to reduce weight respectively, in comparison to 38% and 7%, in 1986.

They also reported that weight-related behaviors and associated depressive symptoms were high among girls, which increased gradually. Researchers concluded by suggesting that Public health campaigns involving obesity should reflect on adverse mental health effects and should focus on healthy weight.

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