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Indoor Tanning Tied to Unhealthy Weight Control Behavior

Teens who indoor tan, especially males, more likely to fast, vomit, or take laxatives to lose weight

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who indoor tan, especially males, are more likely to exhibit unhealthy weight control behaviors, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

Stephen M. Amrock, and Michael Weitzman, M.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, examined the prevalence of unhealthy weight control behaviors in male and female adolescent indoor tanners. Data were collected from 26,951 high school students from the 2009 and 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The researchers found that 23.3 percent of females and 6.5 percent of males reported indoor tanning within the past year. Compared with females who do not indoor tan, those who indoor tan were more likely to have fasted; taken a pill, powder, or liquid; and vomited or taken a laxative to lose weight (odds ratios, 1.2, 2.4, and 1.4, respectively) within the past 30 days. Males who indoor tanned within the past year were more likely to have performed these unhealthy weight control behaviors (odds ratios, 2.3, 4.4, and 7.1, respectively) within the past 30 days.

"The number of adolescents at risk for harmful unhealthy weight control behaviors that indoor tan is sizable, and greater attention to these issues by pediatricians may help reduce the number of adolescents risking potentially deadly consequences," the authors write.

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