Teen Eating Problems

Overweight teen statistics show teen eating problems continue to increase. This article includes causes of teen eating disorders, effects of teen eating problems on body image, and tips on overcoming teen body issue problems associated with eating disorders.


Teen eating problems are becoming more common in the United States. The sedentary lifestyles that we lead now, as well as the abundance and availability of inexpensive  yet more unhealthy  foods, are leading to an increase overweight and obese teens. Teen eating problems can include overeating and an unhealthy obsession with food, as well as disorders that include obsession with losing weight (and not eating enough food).

Causes of teen eating disorders

Teen eating problems can be caused by a number of factors. There are two main types of teen eating problems: those in which teenagers eat too much, and those in which teenagers do not eat enough.

Overweight teens: eating too much. In some cases teenagers feel a strong need to eat food. Indeed, food addiction can be as real as an addiction to drugs. Some teenagers eat because they are emotionally stressed and this is an outlet for them. Stressful events that can lead to seeking comfort in food can include divorce, moving and having trouble with peers. Some teen eating problems come from teenagers eat because they are bored, and do not have anything else to do.

Losing too much weight. Some teen eating problems come when teenagers become obsessed with losing weight and being thin. There are strong social pressures to look a certain way, and this can include weight. Sometimes, an overweight teen will decide to eat too little in order to lose weight quickly, without paying heed to changes that can be changed for a healthier mode of weight loss.

Effects of eating problems on body image

One of the major issues associated with overweight teens is the toll it can take on a teenager’s self-esteem and emotional health. Many overweight teens feel badly about themselves. Obese and overweight teens are sometimes made fun of by their peers. Additionally, they compare themselves to other students who may be thinner.

These comparisons and social pressures can lead to a negative view of one’s body image. This is especially difficult for girls, who do not receive as much leeway from society for how they look. Boys may be “husky,” but “hotness” seems to be more of a requirement for girls. Indeed, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that 90 percent of those with eating disorders are women.

A negative body image can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even depression. Many teenagers with weight problems feel bad about themselves. And, because society often draws comparisons between one’s weight and one’s “goodness,” some overweight teens come to feel that they are bad, or that they are not worthy of love from others. Depressed feelings can lead to mental health issues, and even to suicide attempts.

Also, it is important to note that some overweight teens turn to extreme dieting measures in order to lose weight and gain acceptance. While losing weight can improve health, when it is done inappropriately problems can develop. Extreme measures such as anorexic and bulimic behaviors can be almost as unhealthy as being overweight. These extreme measures can also lead to an “addiction” to losing weight, carrying weight loss to levels of being underweight.

Overcoming a teen body issue problem

In some cases, overweight and obese teens develop such severe body issue problems that it is necessary to get counseling in order to help them cope with the problem. Psychological counseling may be necessary to help teens learn to live healthy as well as feel good about themselves.

One of the most pervasive problems of teen body image is the fact that even after the teen has lost weight and is living in a healthier manner, he or she may still have a negative body image. This can present serious obstacles in school, work and later in life. It is important to help overweight teens in this area, as well as in the physical area.

Related Article: Obese vs. Overweight >>