Harvard Study Suggests Link Between Dating Apps and Unhealthy Weight Control

A new study has suggested that people who use dating apps might be more likely than those who don’t to engage in unhealthy weight control behaviours.

The survey, which was conducted by researchers from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, was completed by 1,726 adults, of which 392 said they were currently on a dating app.

Around half of the app users admitted to undergoing fasting to manage their weight, while 25% of the women and 40% of the men said they had used laxatives in the past.

The other practises that were investigated included vomiting and using diet pills, muscle-building supplements or anabolic steroids.

It’s believed that swipe-based dating is encouraging people to judge potential matches on their physical appearance, making singles go to extreme lengths to look slim and fit.

The results also noted that there was a disproportionate increase in these types of actions among ethnic minorities.

The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, stressed that no explicit link to dating apps could be drawn, and that more research was required.

The methodology did not investigate whether participants were engaging in those activities before they started online dating, so causality was difficult to determine.

Dr. Alvin Tran, lead author of the study, said to the BBC: “With the tremendous growth in dating app usage in the US, and an increasing number of studies linking their use to body image concerns and unhealthy weight control behaviours, there is a need to further understand how dating apps influence health behaviours and outcomes.”

A representative from Beat, a leading eating disorder charity, also added that not everyone who monitors their weight in an unhealthy way has an eating disorder, but individuals who show potential signs must be directed to sources of support.

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