UF researchers, who analyzed the dieting and smoking practices of 8,000 adolescents, did not find the same link in boys, who were also less likely than girls to diet, according to findings released Friday in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
“Dieting was a significant predictor of initiation of regular smoking among females,” said Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of epidemiology and health policy research and lead author of the study. “We were expecting that this relationship was going to be stronger among females. That has been well-documented, especially because (nicotine) can suppress your appetite.
“In boys we found something we don’t understand yet,” she said. “We found that those who were inactive dieters, those who first started dieting and then stopped, were more likely to engage in smoking behaviors.”
The researchers derived their findings from the answers of 7,795 adolescents who were surveyed during the first two waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, completed in 1994 and 1996. The teens were in seventh, eighth and ninth grade when surveyed.
UF researchers included the answers of adolescents who said they were trying to lose weight and divided the group into four units: non-dieters, new dieters, former dieters and consistent dieters, who said they were dieting both times they were surveyed. They excluded teens who were already smokers and those who admitted to taking diet pills, vomiting and using other unhealthy weight-loss tactics.
“That group (of teens who were beginning to diet) was the one we were most interested in, seeing how the start of one behavior related to initiation of smoking,” Maldonado-Molina said.
Researchers also found that girls who consistently dieted were more likely to smoke.
Still, the number of children smoking in the United States has dropped in the 10 years since the first two waves of the survey were completed. In 1995, about 35 percent of high school students smoked regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now about 23 percent of high-school age children reportedly smoke and 8 percent of middle school students do. The percentage of girls who smoke is slightly higher in both age groups, according to a 2006 CDC report on tobacco use among youth.
“In the last decade there has been a decrease in smoking among adolescents, in part because of all the campaigns and policies against smoking,” Maldonado-Molina said. “On the other hand, the practices of dieting are going up in both females and males. We don’t know if we did this study right now if that relationship between smoking and dieting is going to be stronger (among females) or different among males.”
Smoking to suppress the appetite may be one reason why some dieting teens pick up the habit, Maldonado-Molina said. But nicotine’s ability to suppress the appetite may not be the only reason teenagers are more likely to smoke after they start dieting, said S. Bryn Austin, Sc.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics in the division of adolescent medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.
“It’s also possible that dieting itself is making people more vulnerable to smoking,” Austin said, noting that animal studies have shown a link between food deprivation using substances such as tobacco. “If (animals) are extremely food-deprived, they will use more drugs.”
Despite the link, Maldonado-Molina said parents shouldn’t go on red alert if their child starts a diet. Some dieting practices, such as eating balanced meals, can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, she said.
“This doesn’t mean if your child starts dieting they are going to start smoking,” she said. “I think (parents should) be vigilant and talk about it. It’s looking for those changes in behavior.”
April Frawley Birdwell | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy