The Alliance of Boulder County
on Tobacco and Health

Girls Who Diet Often May Be More Likely to Smoke

Frequent dieting during the teen years may be indicative of more serious eating disorders. Now, two Massachusetts researchers suggest that such dieting may also be linked to smoking initiation among girls.

"Among adolescent girls, dieting, which is extremely common, may be contributing to the serious problem our nation has with teenage tobacco use,'' according to study author Dr. S. Bryn Austin, of the Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

"Dieting by teenage girls may increase their risk of starting to smoke cigarettes, and the more frequently they diet, the more likely they are to start smoking,'' she said in an interview with Reuters Health.

In an investigation of the relationship between dieting and smoking, Austin and co-author Dr. Steven L. Gortmaker, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, conducted a study that involved 932 students in 6th and 7th grade.

"Our results indicate that to prevent smoking among adolescent girls in this country, attention needs to be given to the widespread problems of dieting and unhealthful weight concerns,'' Austin said.

Reuters (Feb 28, 2001), by Charnicia E. Huggins,

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