Foodfacts.com encountered an intriguing article indicating that teen girls are regularly skipping meals as they desire to be thin.
According to a poll, 10% of 14 and 15 year olds are routinely skipping two meals a day – breakfast and lunch; 26% regularly skip breakfast and 22% go without lunch.
The survey, by a schools Health Education Unit, also reveals 40% of 10 and 11 year olds think they are overweight – 7% of them are passing on breakfast, and 20% of 12 and 13-year-olds are going without the first meal of the day.
Weight specialist Dr. Dan Kirschenbaum has seen girls as young as Grade 1 worried about their weight.
Obesity levels are high and the media’s focus is always on weight, bombarding females with unrealistic body images, says Kirschenbaum. Weight fixations flourish, feeding unhealthy behaviors, including skipping meals.
“Without effective guidance for how to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight, teenagers thrash about in their attempts to match those almost impossible images,” he says. “Some of this thrashing results in extreme dieting behaviors, very few of which could be sustained, and many of which are quite harmful, including smoking cigarettes as a weight losing strategy.”
Celebrity skinny is elusive for most women, he says, and in many cases, those standards are far too weak from a health perspective; for example, the 5-foot-11-inch model who is required to weigh about 100 pounds.
According to naturopathic doctor Janine Bowring, today’s hectic lifestyle has more people skipping meals and eating on the run — if they eat at all.
“Teenage girls are no exception to this trend. Young girls also fall prey to the idealistic body images they see on TV and in magazines. Teenage girls struggle with self-esteem even without these outside pressures to be thin.”
Skipping meals or eating remarkably little will not help drop pounds, says Bowring. “The reverse is true because our metabolic rate slows down when we do not eat regularly, thus making us gain weight when we do eat.”