Washington D.C.: Teenage girls worrying about their figure and are trying to lose, maintain or gain their weight without any medical need are more likely to have had at least one drink in their life or have engaged in episodes of heavy drinking than girls of the same age without body image misperceptions, warns a new study.
"Negative self-image can lead to negative behaviors. Body image and behavioral misperception occurs when actions are taken based on a perceived weight status or body image," said senior study author Margie Skeer from Tufts University School of Medicine.
"We found significant relationships between this misperception and reporting ever having had alcohol, as well as reporting episodic heavy drinking among high school girls. Paying attention to this behavior in this population could help identify factors supporting the relationship between this misperception and drinking, as well as other risk behaviors, beyond high school," Skeer added.
They analysed data 6,579 female students aged 14-18 and above, 37.5 percent reported having a BIBM; 67.7 percent of the girls had had at least one drink in their lifetime; and 17.8 percent had episodes of heavy drinking in the past 30 days.
Among high school girls with a BIBM, the odds of ever having had alcohol was 1.21 times greater than among girls who did not have a BIBM. Looking at episodic heavy drinking, the researchers found that girls who had a BIBM had a 1.22 times greater odds of having five or more alcoholic beverages in a short period of time compared with girls who did not have a BIBM.
Additional factors that increased the likelihood of heavy alcohol use included being in 12th grade, reporting depressive symptoms and smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days. The study has been published in journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.