Defence: How to reduce the risk of eating disorders and muscle building supplement use

How to reduce the risk of developing eating disorders? How to reduce appearance pressure? How to reduce muscle building supplement use in adolescents?



May 2


Aud. Innsikt, NIH




These are some of the questions Kethe M. E. Svantorp-Tveiten asked in her PhD work which she will defend on NIH May 2nd.

Perceived appearance pressure and desire to change appearance are common in both girls and boys. We are constantly exposed to attitudes about how we shall live our lives and provided recipes telling us how to get there. Adolescents are flowed with unrealistic ideals were having an athletic, defined, and toned body often equals success and happiness where strict exercise regimes, restrictive eating habits and use of dietary supplements are important ingredients in the recipe.

  • WATCH the defence - links in programme below

How many adolescents use muscle building supplements, such as protein and creatin? Is use of such supplements as innocents as many perceive? What characterize adolescent boys and girls who are frequent users of such supplements? How can we make adolescents more resilient, robust, and capable to handle a society with a growing emphasis on body and appearance? How can we work with adolescents to reduce their risk of developing eating disorders and use of muscle building supplements?

In total, 30 high schools and 2500 adolescents in Oslo and former Akershus Counties Participated in the “healthy body image intervention” (HBI). HBI is a large cluster randomized controlled trial which aimed to reduce the risk for eating disorder development and muscle building supplement use in adolescents. The HBI is both a health promotive and preventive program targeting three overarching topics: “body image”, “social media literacy” and “lifestyle”. Risk- and protective factors for eating disorder development, muscle building supplement use, and exercise- and lifestyle habits was assessed prior to and after the intervention. The adolescents were also assessed at 3- and 12 months follow up to investigate long time effects of the intervention.

A large proportion of boys and girls were frequent users of muscle building and dieting supplements, further, use was associated with eating disorder risk factors and exercise behavior in boys but not girls.

Promisingly, we observed several long-term effects of the HBI as the intervention reduced eating disorder symptoms, appearance internalization, and perceived appearance pressure in girls. Moreover, intervention boys and girls had lower mental distress and higher self-esteem relative to controls. In addition, the intervention prevented use of muscle building supplements in boys.

The HBI intervention is a large interdisciplinary collaboration project between Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, University of Agder, University of Southeastern Norway and UIT, The Arctic University of Norway. The project is funded by the DAM foundation and Norwegian women public health Association.





10:15-11:00 - Trial lecture
"The future of eating disorder and muscle building supplement prevention in Norway: Theory and practice"

13:00-16:00 - Public defence

"Reducing risk for eating disorder development and muscle building supplement use in high schools students: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial"

The defence will be streamed on YouTube (direct link will be available when the event starts)

General information

The defence is open to the public. Welcome!

Contact us

Sigmund Alfred Anderssen

Sigmund Alfred Anderssen

Head of Department

Phone: +47 23 26 23 01 / +47 452 79 348