When talking about teens and healthy diets, it’s sometimes easy to shy away from some difficult topics. With social pressures to stay looking gorgeous, at the same time as incidence of teen obesity being higher then ever, it’s often difficult for those around teens to know how to encourage a positive and healthy relationship with food.
A new study has given us some insight into teen thinking. This is fantastic research, which looked at adolescents who didn’t have an eating disorder, and bearing in mind that teens bodies change at this time of life anyway which, in any adolescent, is an adjustment.
This study found a clear link between body satisfaction and eating patterns. Of note, was that girls and boys behave similarly in terms of eating, but that the purpose of it might be different. For girls, it’s having a lean body, and for boys, it’s having a lean and muscular body.
Researchers point out that early signs of eating issues can be spotted sooner by identifying signals of body dissatisfaction.
The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to encourage body satisfaction; sport and exercise, healthy eating and a positive sense of self-worth are messages that we should constantly be giving to the teens around us to let them know that who they are is not only good enough, but can be a truly healthy version of themselves.
Zarychta, K., Chan, C.K.Y., Kruk, M. & Luszczynska, A. 2020, “Body satisfaction and body weight in under- and healthy-weight adolescents: mediating effects of restrictive dieting, healthy and unhealthy food intake”, Eating and weight disorders, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 41-50.