A person’s weight in this country, just as in other countries, is important on a number of levels. How a person looks at himself or herself and how other people look at them can be directly tied to their weight. Self-esteem is extremely important and can influence one’s decision making process, if one has low self-esteem due to their weight they may be more likely to take part in the use of illegal drugs. A new study conducted in Italy found that both underweight and overweight teens consume 20 to 40% more illegal drugs than their normal-weight peers.

The analysis showed that the relationship between these two factors was influenced by psychosocial factors such as:

  • self-esteem
  • parents’educational level
  • friendships

Based on these results, the authors conclude that abnormal weight and substance abuse are not directly related in a cause-effect relationship, but instead are likely both due to common underlying social factors and dissatisfaction.

“Eating disorders have largely increased during the last decades, and obesity is a major public-health problem, especially since the phenomenon is spreading among children. Thus we believe that the results are important to better define targeted interventions”, says Dr. Sabrina Moinaro.

People’s self image is typically distorted by what they see and hear around them regarding the subject. Most people probably would like to alter their current weight, which is alright as long as the manner that it is achieved is done healthily. The media has also played a huge role in what people think they are supposed to look like. Parents need to work hard to reinforce healthy eating habits to their children. An open dialogue should exist between parents and children regarding how they feel about themselves.

These findings come from a survey of more than 33,000 Italian high school students.

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