herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Teenage girls warned over using diet pills

Three out of four teenage girls have either gone on a diet or have considering dieting - and 6pc have taken diet pills, it has emerged.

The results, which showed that two in five teenage girls do not eat breakfast every day, came from a survey by Miss Feelgood on unhealthy eating habits of that group.

Miss Feelgood was created by Unislim and styles itself as Ireland's "first guide to healthy eating, body confidence and fitness for teenage girls".

Almost two thirds of those girls who said that they had tried dieting said that they did so in an effort to lose weight.

But despite the trend in dieting for teenage girls, the survey also showed that more than half eat sweets once a day and 37pc responded that they had one or more fizzy drinks.

Paediatric dietitian Ruth Charles said that she was "shocked, but not surprised" that some young girls take diet pills.

"Young girls are very, very affected by visual advertising and images of what women should look like - based on nothing except photographs - and in striving for this ideal, some take diet pills," Ms Charles told the Irish Examiner.

Flux

She also warned teenage bodies are in a state of flux and there are "potential health risks" in interfering with physical development.

According to its website, Miss Feelgood "aims to give teenagers the confidence to make smart choices empowering them with the knowledge and the know-how to make healthy decisions which have lasting long-term benefits".

"We will help them lay the foundations for a healthy lifestyle and educate teenagers to grow into young adults and ultimately enjoy a better quality of life," according to the description.

Other findings of its survey showed that just 1pc of teenage girls never have treats, 12pc said their family never sits down for a meal together and 40pc dieted to feel more confident.

A total of 35pc said that they dieted to get fitter while 45pc said that they had takeaway meals at least once a week.

Walking was the preferred option of exercise for teenage girls with 76pc responding that they do it regularly, while 18pc preferred to run and 17pc played football.

hnews@herald.ie

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