People who use dating apps appear to have substantially higher odds of having eating disorders compared with those who don’t use the apps, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The researchers analyzed data more than 1,700 adults who completed an online survey that asked about their use of dating apps over the past 30 days and whether they engaged in any of six unhealthy behaviors related to weight control, such as vomiting, laxative use, fasting, diet pill use, muscle building supplement use, and use of anabolic steroids.
Those who used dating apps had 2.7 to 16.2 times higher odds of having an eating disorder compared with non-users and African Americans had significantly higher risk than whites, the study found.
Lead author was Alvin Tran, SD ’19, postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Medicine, who conducted the research while at Harvard Chan School. Tran told CNBC that while online dating helps some people socialize, the technology can also lead to discrimination, racism, and body shaming.