Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Promoting health through simultaneous prevention of obesity and eating disorders

How to best promote healthy weight while also not stigmatizing obesity and creating risk for eating disorders (i.e., weight concern and body dissatisfaction) in youth. How to tackle both without contributing in unwitting way to development of either.

Tags (Keywords associated with the idea)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Studies show that diets do not lead to sustained health benefits for the majority of people and several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain. Repeated cycles of losing and gaining weight are linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and altered immune function. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to the impact of dieting. Several long-term research studies show that girls and boys who use unhealthy weight control practices (including dieting) in early teen years are more likely to become overweight five years later, even if they started out at normal weight. These studies also show that early teen boys and girls who use unhealthy weight control practices are at greater risk for binge eating, use of severe weight control practices ( vomiting, diet pills, laxatives and water pills), and eating disorders compared with adolescents not using weight-control behaviors.


Since our culture tends to create weight bias and obesity stigmatization, it is not surprising to see our children become increasingly fearful of becoming “fat.” Weight concern can be experienced by underweight, average weight and overweight children and teens. Studies have shown that body dissatisfaction, especially weight concern (for early teen boys and girls), can lead to overweight, binge eating, severe weight control practices, and eating disorders. Weight teasing by family members and peers can also increase the risk for eating disorders.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Challenges include creating teams of researchers who will collaborate across the two fields. I believe if we could create such teams we could

move both fields ahead with regard to prevention and a focus on health (behaviors that are health promoting), not BMI (a number) or an emphasis on intake.


The key to both health problems involves the ecology in which youth are located b/c this ecology influences body image, intake, activity, self regulation and self care.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mary Tantillo PhD PMHCNS-BC FAED


62 net votes
116 up votes
54 down votes
Idea No. 403