Eating disorder behaviors and weight concerns, common in teens and young women, are also present among women age 50 and older, U.S. researchers found.
Dr. Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program, said the study involved 1,849 U.S. women participating in the Gender and Body Image Study.
The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, found in women age 50 and older, 3.5 percent reported binge eating, nearly 8 percent reported purging and more than 70 percent said they were trying to lose weight.
The study found 62 percent of the women said their weight or shape negatively affected their life, 79 percent said it affected their self-perception and 64 percent said they thought about it daily.
The average age of the participants was 59 and 92 percent were white. Twenty-seven percent were obese, 29 percent were overweight, 42 percent were normal weight and 2 percent were underweight, Bulik said.
More than 7 percent reported using diet pills, 7 percent reported excessive exercise, 2.5 percent reported using diuretics, 2 percent laxatives and 1 percent vomiting.
“The bottom line is that eating disorders and weight and shape concerns don’t discriminate on the basis of age,” Bulik said in a statement.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 22 (UPI)