DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – The teen years can be filled with any number of challenges — from the classroom and friendships to struggles at home.
For teens who are overweight or obese the challenges can be even greater.
Researchers asked nearly 2,000 school-aged children about whether they had been teased by other children, or family members, about their weight notes WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites.
When they followed up with these children 15 years later, they found that those who answered ‘yes’ were more likely to be obese adults, struggle with body image and develop unhealthy eating behaviors.
“They fall back into comfort eating,” says psychologist Leslie Heinberg, “they fall back into disordered eating behaviors. Or if they do decide, ‘wow, I better do something about it,’ they may engage in dieting, but what this study shows is — some of the dieting behavior they utilize can be really unhealthy diets.”
Heinberg says sometimes family members might think that their words are just a joke, or that they might help motivate their family member to lose weight, when in fact, such words are more likely to derail them.
She says that home needs to be a place where children feel safe from teasing.
“The first thing is to make home a healthy and safe environment in which teens aren’t feeling victimized about their weight,” says Heinberg.