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Too many teens eating up social dieting trends

Posted at 1:59 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 07:39:10-04

The push for protein, the juicing craze, detoxing, even keeping it ‘clean’-- social media seems to always have the skinny on the hottest diets of the day. But now, expert we talked to say they are concerned that too many teens who crave their newsfeeds are eating up the trends.

Eatright.org’s Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, says, “…teens may not always be able to critically evaluate the validity of claims.”

Registered Dietitian Mascha Davis says some diets with hot hashtags may not provide teens with the increase in nutrients their changing bodies need, explaining, “They're actually going through their largest growth spurt since infancy.”

And concerns go beyond the physical.

A survey study by graduate students found a correlation between negative body image and the number of social networks a person belongs to. 

Eating disorders expert Keira Oseroff, LCSW, says social media has led to a false sense of perfection, which leads many teens to feel like they don’t measure up. Oseroff says, “As a teenager, higher rates of anxiety, depression, lower rates of self-esteem can lead to isolation, disordered eating, impaired social functioning.” 

No matter where the pressure comes from, Oseroff says she is seeing the dangerous results. She says, “In the past two months I've hospitalized four people, from the ages of nine to 17. They're restricting their dietary restraint to the point where they are medically compromised.”

Davis says kids and teens need to load up on a well-rounded diet filled with energy-dense foods.
And Oseroff reminds teens, and parents, their self image should be made up of more than what they eat. 

She explains, “Body image is becoming the only measure of self-image. They're not thinking of what kind of friend am I?  What kind of daughter am I? Who do I want to be?”