tinder and dangers of online dating
Mike Blake/Illustration/Reuters

A new study has revealed that people who excessively use dating apps are more likely to embrace the risk of unhealthy weight control behaviours, including vomiting, laxative use and diet pill use.

During the study, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined 1726 US adults and checked their dating app usage pattern along with their engagement in six unhealthy weight control behaviours within the past 12 months.

The research report revealed that out of the 1726 participants, 183 women and 209 men used dating apps. They found that women who used dating apps had 2.3 to 26.9 times higher odds of embracing unhealthy weight control behaviours when compared to non-users, while men had 3.2 to 14.6 higher odds of controlling weight using unhealthy behaviour.

In their study, researchers compared those who do not use dating apps to those who do, and found that dating app users had significantly elevated odds of engaging in the six unhealthy weight control behaviours such as vomiting for weight control, using laxatives for weight control, fasting for weight control, using diet pills, using muscle-building supplements, and using anabolic steroids, said Alvin Tran, lead author of the study conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

As per the research report, the most common unhealthy weight control behaviours are fasting, vomiting and laxative use. However, researchers also made it clear that this study is not a piece of conclusive evidence that substantiates the relationship between usage of dating apps and unhealthy weight control behaviours.

"While we do not know if the people in our study were already engaging in these weight control behaviours before using dating apps, we worry that the use of these images- and appearance-focused services could exacerbate those behaviours," added Tran.

A few weeks ago, another study report published in the International Journal of Epidemiology had suggested that marijuana users are less likely to gain weight when compared to non-users. The research report soon became a debating point among health professionals, as it broke the traditional belief that marijuana users have an increased appetite, thus resulting in uncontrolled weight gain.

The study was published in the open access Journal of Eating Disorders.