Rising Number of Tween Boys Vomiting to Stay Thin

Filed under: Nutrition: Tweens, Nutrition: Teens, In The News, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

Tweens Vomiting to Stay Thin

16 percent of boys made themselves sick, compared with only 10 percent of girls. Credit: Getty Images

Kids as young as 10 are vomiting to lose weight.

What is their problem? It's like someone told them childhood obesity is a major social problem that makes kids unattractive and threatens to send them to early graves with diabetes and low test scores.

Regardless of its mysterious origin, this obsession with weight apparently has dangerous consequences -- at least in Taiwan. That's where researchers studied children's vomiting habits. They surveyed 16,000 kids and found that roughly 15 percent of kids ages 10 to 15 have vomited to lose weight.

Here's an interesting little factoid: It's more boys than girls. Researchers at National Yang-Ming University found that 16 percent of boys made themselves sick, compared with only 10 percent of girls.

And apparently sitting in front of a computer is enough to make you vomit. Lead researcher Yiing Mei Liou tells CBS kids who use a computer for more than two hours a day are 55 percent more likely to vomit than other kids.

Other risk factors included fried foods, late-night snacks, skipped breakfast and sleeping less than eight hours a day.

"Self-induced vomiting was most prevalent in adolescents who had a sedentary lifestyle, slept less and ate unhealthily," Liou tells the network.

CBS News reports self-induced vomiting isn't just a problem among Taiwanese kids. At least 4 percent of American students reported vomiting or taking laxatives in the last 30 days to lose or stop gaining weight, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And, vomiting is not good thing, CBS reports. It can lead to health problems including tooth decay, gum problems, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances as well as broken blood vessels in the eyes (from the strain of vomiting) and cuts and calluses on the tops of the fingers (from sticking the fingers into the mouth to elicit the gag reflex).

And the clincher? It can make you fat. That's right, kids. CBS reports researchers say throwing up increases your risk for eating disorders and (Aiiieeee!) obesity.

So remember, first lady Michelle Obama wants you to lose weight. But the name of her program is "Let's Move," not "Let's Puke Our Lunch."


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.