New research shows that women ages 50 and above aren't immune from the body dissatisfaction and weight issues that are often only associated with young girls.
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PROBLEM: Since many assume women eventually grow to accept their bodies and get over their weight troubles, little research exists on the eating behavior and attitudes of women in midlife to older adulthood.
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METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Cynthia Bulik conducted an online survey with 1,849 women in the U.S. to characterize the bodily behaviors and concerns of women ages 50 and above. More than a quarter of the respondents were obese, 29 percent were overweight, 42 percent were of normal weight, and two percent were underweight.
RESULTS: Eating disorder symptoms, body checking behaviors, and weight and shape concerns were common among the participants. About eight percent of women reported purging in the last five years and 3.5 percent reported binge eating in the last month. These unhealthy behaviors, which also involved diet pills, excessive exercise, diuretics, laxatives, and vomiting, were most prevalent in women in their early 50s, but also occurred in women over 75.