For teenage girls dieting and smoking go hand in hand

According to the latest research teenage girls who diet are twice as likely to start smoking as their non-dieting peers.

Researchers from the University of Florida found when they analyzed the dieting and smoking habits of 7,795 teenagers that dieting did not effect boys in the same way.

The study’s lead author assistant professor Mildred Maldonado-Molina says dieting was a significant predictor of the start of regular smoking among females.

Dr. Molina says the results were not unexpected as it is well known that nicotine can suppress the appetite.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a school-based study of health-related behaviors among girls and boys in grades 7 through to 12 in the U.S.

Among the teenage boys, those who tried dieting but did not stick to it, were the ones at risk for taking up smoking and while more boys were overweight only about a quarter were dieters, and just 12 percent were consistent dieters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the percentage of teenage smokers has dropped since the survey was performed.

The CDC says in 1995, about 35 percent of high school students smoked regularly, while currently about 23 percent of high school students and 8 percent of middle school students reportedly smoke.

According to a 2006 CDC report on tobacco use among youth, the percentage of girls who smoke is slightly higher in both age groups.

Research demonstrates that both girls and boys are more likely to become regular smokers if cigarettes are available in the home.

The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

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