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  Fat fears 'give kids eating disorders'
Updated 12 April 2002, 09.25
Teenage girl upset
Teenagers who are frantic not to get fat are at risk of eating disorders.

Young people are so worried about obesity these days that they often go on strict diets which put their health at risk, a top psychologist has warned.

Click here for more on eating disorders

Children who go on crash diets are 12 times more likely to develop an eating disorder in later life, a recent study in Australia showed.

'Struggle'

Fact File
Facts about obesity
Over 1 million UK children are obese
It can cause serious health problems when they grow up
Obese kids are 77% more likely to have asthma
It's the biggest cause of cancer after smoking

"Starting to diet in teenage years can be very dangerous," said Professor Marion Hetherington.

"Dieting is a struggle, it involves us trying to beat our biological desires, but it can lead to yo-yo dieting."

Teenagers should be taught about staying healthy, but they must be careful not to go overboard and risk developing an eating disorder.

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