The study, conducted by Dr. Yossi Harel of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Bar-Ilan University, included 106,119 14-year olds from 33 countries, of which 1,500 Israeli boys and 2,000 girls.
The findings are worrisome and point to the overwhelming effect of the thin-craze. Even though Israeli girl are not heavier than their peers in other Western counties, 26% of them diet. The only country that has a higher percentage (28%) of normal weight girls that diet is Denmark. The United States was ranked fourth.
One of the surprising findings of the research is the extent to which Israeli boys have internalized the thin ideal: Eight percent of the normal weight boys are trying to lose weight. In this case the US came in ahead of Israel with nine percent of normal weight boys dieting.
The findings support the researchers' assumption about the relationship between the place of residence and diets.
Psychologist Dr. Tzipi Marom commented on the findings, saying that "the high percentage of Israeli teens who are dieting points at the messages adolescents receive about the importance of physical appearance."
Dr. Marom warned about the risk that an unnecessary diet will develop into an eating disorder.