Saturday, January 06, 2007

Magazine diet articles cause teen smoking

A story I read in our local newspaper told of research that suggested weight-loss and diet articles in teen magazines caused unhealthy practices such as extreme weight-loss measures as many as five years after reading such material, versus those who have never read such articles.

Of course, it is nothing new to associate teen mag diet articles and ads to extreme behavior. How this study differs is in the suggestion that these articles have a lingering effect - even when a girl is well past the teen years during which she read the material.

What I found particularly interesting was the following quote:

"Girls in middle school who read dieting articles were twice as likely
five years later to try to lose weight by fasting or smoking cigarettes,
compared with girls who never read such articles."

Diet articles cause teen smoking. And here you thought that teen smoking was just a peer pressure thing.

"Hey, Ashley, what's with the cigarette? Did other kids talk you into smoking?"

"Oh, Mo-ommmm. I'm twenty years old. I haven't caved to peer pressure since middle school."

"Then how do you explain this behavior, Ash?" (Pun intended.)

"Well, it was all the diet and weight loss articles I read in those magazines you bought me. I figured a good way to lose weight was to start smoking. After all, look what it did for Aunt Ida. She smoked all her life and got herself down to 86 pounds when she died at 45."

Parents, please! I don't know if things read in teen mags cause bizarre behavior or not, but if your daughter is so convinced she needs to lose weight that she is considering or has begun smoking, by all means get her the help she needs.


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