A new University of Minnesota study shows unhealthy weight control habits that begin in adolescence often continue and may intensify into adulthood for both men and women.

University of Minnesota Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Ann Haynos.

“Overall, what these findings suggest is that there needs to be intervention for unhealthy weight control practices early on in adolescence so that we can keep people from getting into these patterns which seem to be very difficult to break,” said the study’s Dr. Ann Haynos.

She added that it’s something to keep an eye on because, “So many people, especially women, are using these types of behaviors to manage their weight and we have good evidence that they’re not very effective and that they can cause harm.”

The study also shows that one in five people surveyed said they didn’t initiate dieting until adulthood.

Haynos said she will continue her research and is conducting a study to better understand the risk factors for adults that can lead to unhealthy weight control practices.