The teens of generation Z are sitting at home more these days, as are all of us. One study found that because of this, they are dieting more than ever before. The main goal for these teens choosing to diet is weight loss. A recent study has also linked an increased rate of depression to teens wanting to diet to lose weight.
A survey was conducted among teenage girls in 2015. 42% of them said they were dieting to lose weight. This is up from 30% of teen girls dieting to lose weight win a 2005 survey. It's likely that, due to an increase in sedentary lifestyle, the percentage of teens (both male and female) is even higher now.
The way adults, whether family, friends, or the media, talks about weight and dieting culture can have a profound effect on teens. A lot of teens have used dieting as a way to potentially improve their mental health. Researchers have known for a while that dieting can lead to eating disorders, especially among teens.
There has been societal pressure on teen girls to look thin and attractive for decades. Teen boys are now reporting feeling similar pressure. So dieting is not exclusive to teen girls. Recently, psychologists have been treating more teens for body dysmorphia disorder - a mental disorder that causes one to fixate on perceived body flaws. Some researchers think that the rise in social media is playing a part in this, and I don't disagree.
So what can adults do to minimize this in teens? Be conscious of what you say regarding body image around teens. If you are a parent, support your teen with their choices, but know when to seek help or outside support for them. Educate them about proper nutrition and don't label certain foods or food groups as inherently bad.