Eating disorder link to dieting mothers
GIRLS whose mothers are on a diet are almost twice as likely to have an eating disorder, a poll of more than 500 teenagers has found.
Many girls say their mother has the biggest influence on their own self-image and they feel damaged by the effects of their mum's dieting and views on food.
The survey of 512 teenage girls, aged between 12 and 18 found that 6 per cent had an eating disorder, rising to one in ten among those whose mothers diet.
Almost four out of ten girls said their mother had the biggest influence on how they perceived themselves.
Two-thirds of those surveyed said they had heard their mum complaining about her own weight and 56 per cent have mothers who are on a diet
– despite 68 per cent describing their mother's body size as normal.
Other findings include:
• Just over half of teenage girls surveyed have dieted, rising to 59 per cent among those girls whose mothers diet.
• Almost eight out of ten girls worry about their weight – 20 per cent say they worry about their looks all the time.
• One in five girls said they are criticised by family members for being "too big" and 51 per cent of those say they have been hurt by hearing their parents talking about their size. Almost one in three have been called names like "elephant" by relatives.
• Some 9 per cent of teenage girls say they are "constantly" on a diet. Among girls whose families comment on their weight, this rose to 24 per cent.
The survey was carried out among readers of teen magazine, Sugar. Its editor, Annabel Brog, said girls were heavily influenced by their family's views on diet and food – what she described as their "thinheritance".
And psychologist Amanda Hills said: "Children learn how to behave by watching their parents … at least half of the people I see with an eating disorder admit that there are problems with eating in the family."
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