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Peer pressure 'big factor' in teen eating disorders

Peer pressure can lead to eating disorders. make sure your teen is prepared. People of any age can be affected by pressure from their peers, the media and even their families but it is worse when you're a teenager at school.

Soon, children and teens will be heading back to school after the summer holidays meaning they could be subjected to peer pressure over their behaviour, choice of clothes and even their weight. This can lead to mental health problems like anorexia.

Linda Buchan, a registered psychologist, explained why peer pressure can be a major factor in how teenagers developing eating disorders to the Calgary Herald.

She said: "Some kids will go through a phase of starving themselves because their friends are doing it. When they are on their own they might be fine, but for others it is a trigger for a lifelong struggle."

She added that disordered eating occurs in a continuum ranging from mild to severe.

Eating disorder behaviours learned from friends

Ms Buchan also revealed to the news provider that most teens with anorexia or bulimia have often learnt that behaviour from someone else - usually a school friend suffering from an eating disorder themselves.

Another way in which teens find out information about how to starve themselves or eating disorders is the internet, she added.

Peer pressure can also lead to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. This can contribute to eating disorders, loss of personal interests, shying away from peers, feeling isolated from other people and poor academic abilities.

While parents can't directly protect their teenagers from peer pressure, they can give them some tips about how to combat it and stick to their healthy eating.

Dealing with peer pressure can be tough but it can be done. You can advise your teen to prepare a mental script of how they would like to deal with uncomfortable situations.

They can script out their reaction in any given situation that they can play out in their head so they are ready to answer in the right way when they are put under pressure.

It is also important that your teen has a firm moral stance when it comes to drugs and alcohol so that they cannot be influenced by others to deviate from their viewpoint.

By following these tips, your teen may be able to avoid caving into peer pressure and from developing unhealthy eating habits.

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