Online Program

Weight concerns, body dissatisfaction and illicit drug abuse in women and girls

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Anne Lindsay, MS, Cooperative Extension, University of Nevada , Reno, Las Vegas, NV
Cortney Warren, PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Sara Velasquez, MPH, Cooperative Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Las Vegas, NV
With obesity at an all time high, national initiatives have been put into place to aid in reducing body weight and or BMI in adults and children. As eager health professionals with such an enormous charge, we sometimes do more harm than good. This session will discuss how weight concerns and body image issues affect many women and adolescent girls including unwarranted use of supplementation (such as diet pills and energy products), dangerous dieting practices, disordered eating behaviors and illicit drugs (particularly methamphetamine and other stimulants) often used as a method of self-treatment. In most substance abuse treatment programs, women make up more than half of the clients treated for meth. One study indicated five times the percentage of females than males attributed initial meth use to a desire to lose weight and more females than males reported using meth to get more energy. Dangerous dieting practices to lose weight after treatment often become gateways to recidivism. Researchers and extension professionals at the University of Nevada, Reno (Extension) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas found that the majority of female clients in local substance abuse treatment centers (72%) had concerns that gaining weight could trigger a drug relapse. Most recovery programs target males and don't address health and weight related issues. Validating weight concerns in women, however, is critical to successful recovery. Incorporating positive body image and healthy lifestyles while eradicating focus on weight loss as core intervention strategies may prevent relapse in substance abuse treatment programs for women.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify weight-related concerns and body dissatisfaction for women in substance abuse recovery. Demonstrate practical ways to address weight and body dissatisfaction in this unique population.

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada Reno, a doctoral student in Public Health (UNLV), have a M.S. in Exercise Physiology (UNLV) and a B.A. (UCSB). For more than 15 years, I have published research and educational programs in correctional settings for incarcerated females and those in recovery (inpatient and outpatient) with an emphasis on health, including physical inactivity, poor nutrition, eating disorders & body image disturbances.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.