New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds a link between women being teased about their weight and disturbed eating, which could include binge eating, self induced vomiting and misuse of medicine or excessive exercise.

Researchers analyzed the weight teasing histories, current eating behaviors, demographic information and recalled body-weight of several women. According to the study, women who experienced weight-teasing were more likely to currently engage in disturbed eating. Results found that 45 percent of participants experienced teasing about their weight growing up and those who recalled heavier body-weights were more likely to have experienced even more weight teasing insults.

Teasing, particularly among youth, remains a prominent concern. A recent New York Times article discussed further findings that many teens report being bullied about their weight, not only by their peers, but also by trusted adults in their lives including coaches and parents. This AJPH study by lead author, Virginia Quick, RD, PhD, brings attention to the harsh and long-term effects of continued bullying and teasing particularly in the lives of female youth. Noting that disturbed eating habits continue into adulthood, her work encourages efforts to help end teasing, particularly that related to a person’s weight.

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