London, Aug 10 (ANI): Around four in every ten young girls feel guilty about what they eat, a research has found.
Many young girls feel guilty about what they eat against a background of stress, emotional upset and peer pressure to be stick-thin.
They are racked with anxiety as they pop open a bag of crisps or unwrap a chocolate bar.
The disturbing trend was highlighted in research suggesting millions of young people have a dysfunctional relationship with food.
Retail analysts Mintel said that girls in particular are more likely to eat to cope with stressful situations, perhaps copying their mothers. Girls were also more likely to comfort eat than boys when unhappy.
When coupled with evidence that teen girls do much less exercise than boys, this points to a greater risk of weight gain and worsening health.
Three in every ten children, equivalent to around 3.47million, are now defined as obese or overweight.
Some 40 per cent of girls aged 11 to 15 have some guilt about what they eat and are often on diets as a result.
The figure for boys was 20 per cent.
"Feeling guilty about eating is more common among girls. This likely reflects the general higher pressure that women put themselves under in terms of their weight and appearance," The Daily Mail quoted Michelle Strutton, of Mintel, as saying.
"Obviously, this starts at a young age and could be "learned" experience from their mothers. Our report found women are more likely than men to eat when stressed," she added.
Comfort eating is likely to lead to feeling guilty for indulging in a treat to cheer you up.
The report was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. (ANI)