New study suggests that a strong drive for thinness during adolescence can lead to weight gain and compulsive eating in women in their adult years

Nov 29, 2021

A new study from University of California and University of Michigan researchers suggests that a drive for thinness during the critical developmental years of adolescence may have long-term effects in adulthood, contributing to a greater drive for thinness and weight gain in midlife in women. Researchers compared data from 623 women from when they were in their teens to approximately 20 years later when they were in their late thirties or early forties. The data were collected through the National Growth and Health Study, a population-based cohort study of White and Black girls recruited from several U.S. communities. The study was published in the journal Obesity in November 2021. Study authors include Barbara Laraia from UC Berkeley, Cindy Leung from the University of Michigan, Janet Tomiyama from UC Los Angeles, Lorrene Ritchie and Patricia Crawford from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute, and Elissa Epel from UC San Francisco. The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute on Aging.


By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Policy Analyst
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist