TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A new survey shows social media can lead to negative body images in teenagers.
The push for protein, the juicing craze, detoxing, even keeping it clean, social media always has the skinny on the hottest diets of the day. But experts Tucson News Now spoke with say they are concerned too many teens who crave their newsfeeds are eating up the trends they find.
Mascha Davis with Eatright.org said, "Teens may not always be able to critically evaluate the validity of claims."
Registered dietitians said some diets with hot hashtags may not provide teens with the increase in nutrients their changing bodies need.
"They're actually going through their largest growth spurt since infancy," Davis said.
A recent study done by graduate students found a correlation between negative body image and the number of social networks a person belongs to. Eating disorder experts said social media has led to a false sense of perfection, which leads many teens to feel like they don't measure up.
"As a teenager, higher rates of anxiety, depression, and lower rates of self-esteem can lead to isolation, disordered eating, impaired social functioning," eating disorder specialist Keira Oseroff said.
No matter where the pressure comes from, the results are dangerous.
"In the past two months, I've hospitalized four people, from the ages of nine to 17. They're restricting their dietary restraint to the point where they are medically compromised," Oseroff said.
Doctors said kids and teens need to load up on well-rounded diets filled with energy-dense foods. Parents and adults should also remind young people that self-image is more than what they eat.
"Body image is becoming the only measure of self-image," Oseroff said. "They're not thinking of what kind of friend am I? What kind of daughter am I? Who do I want to be?"
Nutritionists said teens need a higher than normal amount of certain vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D and protein.
Research also shows those who restrict their diet as teens are more likely to gain more weight as adults.