Dating App; Use of dating apps may be associated with an increased risk of unhealthy weight control behaviors, including vomiting, laxative use, or diet pill use, a study in the open access Journal of Eating Disorders suggests. A team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examine data on 1,726 US adults enroll in the Harvard Chan Physical Activity study who completed an online survey assessing their dating app use within the past 30 days and their engagement in six unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWBCs) within the past 12 months.
Six unhealthy weight
Dr. Alvin Tran, the lead author of the study said: To our knowledge; study is one of the first to explore dating app use in association with unhealthy weight control behaviors. When comparing those who do not use dating apps to those who do; they find that dating app users had significantly elevate odds; so of engaging in the six unhealthy weight control behaviors they investigate; vomiting for weight control, using laxatives for weight control, fasting for weight control; also using diet pills, using muscle-building supplements, and using anabolic steroids.
The authors find that out of the 1,726 adults, 183 women and 209 men use dating apps. Compare to non-users, women who use dating apps had 2.3 to 26.9 times higher odds of engaging in UCWBs, while men who use dating apps had 3.2 to 14.6 times the odds of engaging in UWCBs.
The most common UWCBs were fasting, vomiting and laxative use. Out of those who report using dating apps, 44.8% (82) of women and 54.1% (113) of men report fasting, 22.4% (41) of women and 36.4% (76) of men report vomiting, and 24% (44) of women and 41.1% (86) of men report using laxatives for weight control. Other prevalent UWCBs include diet pill use, and use of anabolic steroids or muscle building supplements.
Cross sectional nature
Dr. Tran said: Consistent with previous research; so they also find elevate rates of UWCBs in racial / ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans. They did not, however, find elevate odds of UWCBs base on sexual orientation. The authors caution that the cross-sectional nature of the study does not allow for conclusions; so about cause and effect or the direction of the observe association between dating app use and UWCBs.
Dr. Tran said: While we do not know if the people in our study were already engaging in these weight control behaviors before using dating apps, we worry that the use of these image and appearance focus services could exacerbate those behaviors. With the tremendous growth in dating app usage in the U.S., and an increasing number of studies linking their use to body image concerns and UWCBs, there is a need to further understand how dating apps influence health behaviors and outcomes.