Skinny Self-Image, Heavy Workouts in Adolescence Are Warning Signs, UCSF-Led Study Shows

Adolescents who see themselves as puny and who exercise to gain weight may be at risk of so-called muscularity-oriented disordered eating behaviors, say researchers led by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

The researchers found that 22 percent of males and 5 percent of females ages 18-to-24 exhibit these disordered eating behaviors, which are defined as including at least one of the following: Eating more or differently to gain weight or bulk up, and use of dietary supplements or anabolic steroids to achieve the same goal.

Left unchecked, these behaviors may escalate to muscle dysmorphia, characterized by rigid diet, obsessive over-exercising and extreme preoccupation with physique, say the researchers in their study publishing in the International Journal of Eating Disorders on June 20, 2019.

 

Credit: Amanda Mills CDC

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