Consequences of Poor Body Image and Self-Esteem

In addition to an incalculable psychic toll, poor body image and self-esteem have real and measurable health consequences,  including eating disorders, bullying, alcohol abuse, early onset of sexual activity and, perhaps, counter-intuitively, and obesity.

Eating disorders / 35% percent of dieters progress to pathological dieting and, of those, 20-25 percent progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.6 / An estimated 24 million people suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.7 /Up to 4.2 percent of women have suffered from anorexia; up to 4 percent will have bulimia; 2.8 percent of adults will struggle with binge eating disorder.8

Smoking / 13 percent of women smoke to lose weight.9; teenage girls often start to smoke to avoid weight gain.10

Alcohol Abuse /Teenage girls with low self-esteem are twice as likely to report alcohol use.11 / 12-year-old girls with low self-esteem are two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in heavy alcohol use at age 15.12

Early Onset of Sexual Activity / Girls who had high self-esteem in seventh grade were three times more likely to have remained virgins than were girls with low self-esteem.14 /The risk of teenage motherhood is raised – by up to 50 percent – among teenage girls with lower self-esteem.15

Obesity /Young girls who dieted had three times the odds of being overweight five years later compared with girls not using weight-control behaviors.16 /Persistent use of dieting and unhealthy weight-control behaviors predicted greater increases in body mass index (BMI) 10 years later in overweight and non-overweight respondents.17 /People who feel discriminated or stigmatized against because of their weight were two-and-a-half times more likely to become obese, regardless of their actual weight.1

Bullying / Obese children were 63 percent more likely to be bullied.13

 

References

1 Andrist, Linda C. "Media Images, Body Dissatisfaction, and Disordered Eating in Adolescent Women." MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing 28.

2 (2003). 2 Cash, Thomas F., and Thomas Pruzinsky. Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. New York: Guilford, 2002. Print. 

3 Hoffman, J.P., and S.A. Baldwin. "The Dynamics of Self-Esteem: A Growth-Curve Analysis." Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2002). 

4 Fouts, Gregory, and Kimberly Burggraf. "Television Situation Comedies: Female Body Images and Verbal Reinforcements." Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 40.5-6 (1999): n. pag. Print. 

5 Girl Scouts of the USA and The Dove Self-Esteem Fund 

6 Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., & Estes, L.S. (1995). The Spectrum of Eating Disturbances. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 18 (3): 209-219.

7 "Eating Disorder Statistics." ANAD.org. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc, n.d. Web. 29 July 2013.http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/.

8 "Eating Disorder Statistics & Research." Eating Disorder Hope RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/statistics-studies.

9 Preidt, Robert. "Disordered Eating Is Widespread Among U.S. Women." ABC News. ABC News Network, 24 Apr. 0000. Web. 26 July 2013.http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4726783. 10 

U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2001. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/women-and-tobacco-use.html.  

11 "Fact Sheet: Girls and Alcohol." CasaColumbia.org. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2007. Web.http://www.casacolumbia.org/articlefiles/412-GIRLS%20AND%20ALCOHOL_CASA%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf. 

12 Ibid 

13 Puhl, Rebecca M., Jamie Lee Petersen, and Joerg Luedicke. "Weight-Based Victimization: Bullying Experiences of Weight Loss Treatment–Seeking Youth." Pediatrics. N.p., 24 July 2012. Web.http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/e1.abstract?sid=fc5b80c8-5518-4e81-890a-4663f645b4a2. 

14 Spencer, J. M., G. D. Zimet, M. C. Aalsma, and D. P. Orr. "Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Initiation of Coitus in Early Adolescents." Pediatrics 109.4 (2002): 581-84. Print. 

15 Dennison, Catherine. "Teenage Pregnancy: An Overview of the Research Evidence." Teenage Pregnancy Unit (n.d.): p. 6. Nice.org. 2004. Web.http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/teenpreg_evidence_overview.pdf.  16 Neumarksztainer, D., M. Wall, J. Guo, M. Story, J. Haines, and M. Eisenberg. "Obesity, Disordered Eating, and Eating Disorders in a Longitudinal Study of Adolescents: How Do Dieters Fare 5 Years Later?" Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106.4 (2006): 559-68. Print. 

17 Neumarksztainer, D., M. Wall, J. Guo, M. Story, J. Haines, and M. Eisenberg. "Obesity, Disordered Eating, and Eating Disorders in a Longitudinal Study of Adolescents: How Do Dieters Fare 5 Years Later?" Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106.4 (2006): 559-68. Print. 18 Sutin, Angelina R. and Antonio Terracciano, “Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity,” Web, PLOS Onehttp://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0070048.