Skinny Self-Image, Heavy Workouts in Adolescence are Warning Signs, Study Shows

Posted on June 26, 2019

Engaging in highly strenuous exercises and having a skinny self-image can be signs that individuals are experiencing muscularity-oriented eating disturbances, which may lead to a variety of health issues. Such eating disorders can be difficult to identify as working out to increase one’s mass is often interpreted as leading a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the possibility of it being detrimental is overlooked.

Researchers from UCSF Benioff Children’s hospitals found that 22 percent of males and 5 percent of females who are around 18 to 24 years old engage in disordered eating habits. These habits include eating more than usual with the intent to gain weight, as well as consuming supplements to increase muscle mass. This could result in muscle dysmorphia, where individuals follow strict diets, exercise vigorously and are obsessed with the way their body looks. Muscle dysmorphia is also linked to social isolation and depression. Health problems such as heart failure or exhaustion could also arise from the strenuous lifestyle.

14.891 adolescents participated in a longitudinal study carried out by the researchers to investigate whether early signs beginning when the participants were about 15 years old exist prior to the diagnosis of eating disorders. Results showed that participants who workout in order to increase their body mass are at a much higher risk of developing disordered eating habits. Those who see themselves as being underweight are also more likely to have eating disorders.

Data collected from the study also showed racial and gender differences. However, sexual identity does not have an impact on the findings. The researchers also noted that supplements can be highly dangerous and lead to undesirable effects on the body as they are not regulated. Additionally, obsessive behaviors revolving around one’s physique may hinder social interaction and impact mental health negatively.

Category(s):Eating Disorders

Source material from Science Daily