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Prevalence of overweight misperception and weight control behaviors among normal weight adolescents in the United States. The Scientific World Journal, 6, 365-373

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
The Scientific World Journal (Impact Factor: 1.73). 03/2006; 6:365-73. DOI: 10.1100/tsw.2006.70
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Weight perceptions and weight control behaviors have been documented with underweight and overweight adolescents, yet limited information is available on normal weight adolescents. This study investigates the prevalence of overweight misperceptions and weight control behaviors among normal weight adolescents in the U.S. by sociodemographic and geographic characteristics. We examined data from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). A total of 9,714 normal weight U.S. high school students were included in this study. Outcome measures included self-reported height and weight measurements, overweight misperceptions, and weight control behaviors. Weighted prevalence estimates and odds ratios were computed. There were 16.2% of normal weight students who perceived themselves as overweight. Females (25.3%) were more likely to perceive themselves as overweight than males (6.7%) (p < 0.05). Misperceptions of overweight were highest among white (18.3%) and Hispanic students (15.2%) and lowest among black students (5.8%). Females (16.8%) outnumbered males (6.8%) in practicing at least one unhealthy weight control behavior (use of diet pills, laxatives, and fasting) in the past 30 days. The percentage of students who practiced at least one weight control behavior was similar by ethnicity. There were no significant differences in overweight misperception and weight control behaviors by grade level, geographic region, or metropolitan status. A significant portion of normal weight adolescents misperceive themselves as overweight and are engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors. These data suggest that obesity prevention programs should address weight misperceptions and the harmful effects of unhealthy weight control methods even among normal weight adolescents.

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    • "This result puts " feeling fat rather than being fat " directly into perspective (Jansen, van de Looij-Jansen, de Wilde, & Brug, 2008). Perceptions of over or underweight are a risk factor for unhealthy eating behaviors (Isomaa et al., 2011), especially overweight BWP (Talamayan et al., 2006). Conversely , our results suggest that overweight adolescent girls with a "right weight" BWP had lower depression scores than those finding themselves "too fat, " with an incremental increase of ADRS scores. "
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    • "This result puts " feeling fat rather than being fat " directly into perspective (Jansen, van de Looij-Jansen, de Wilde, & Brug, 2008). Perceptions of over or underweight are a risk factor for unhealthy eating behaviors (Isomaa et al., 2011), especially overweight BWP (Talamayan et al., 2006). Conversely , our results suggest that overweight adolescent girls with a "right weight" BWP had lower depression scores than those finding themselves "too fat, " with an incremental increase of ADRS scores. "
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    • "Although previous research has examined the co-occurrence of substance use and disordered eating, the majority of studies has looked at substance use in general instead of investigating the potential role of specific substances (i.e., tobacco, cocaine, alcohol) in eating behaviors. Moreover, there is a developing and compelling body of literature suggesting that many adolescents misperceive their weight status (Brener et al. 2004b; Goodman et al. 2000; Standley et al. 2009; Talamayan et al. 2006) and their perception of weight, be it accurate or inaccurate, has significant implications for the behaviors they employ to manage their weight (Lichtey 2010; Shi et al. 2007). As such, the goal of this investigation was to delineate the intricate relationships surrounding body weight, weight perception, substance use, and weight control behaviors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Disordered eating behaviors and substance use are two risk factors for the development of serious psychopathology and health concerns in adulthood. Despite the negative outcomes associated with these risky behaviors, few studies have examined potential associations between these risk factors as they occur during adolescence. The importance of accurate or inaccurate weight perception among adolescents has received increased interest given documented associations with nutritional beliefs and weight management strategies. This study examined the associations among the perceptions of weight and substance use with disordered eating behaviors among a diverse sample of normal weight and overweight adolescent males and females. Data came from the 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The sample consisted of 11,103 adolescents (53.4% female; 44% Caucasian, 21% African American; 13% Hispanic; age responses ranged from 12 and under to 18 and over), with 31.5% meeting criteria for being either at-risk for obesity or already obese (i.e., overweight). As hypothesized, overestimation of weight among normal weight adolescents and accurate perceptions of weight among overweight adolescents were associated with higher rates of disordered eating behaviors. In normal weight adolescents, use of all three substances (tobacco, binge drinking, and cocaine) was associated with each disordered eating behavior. In contrast, findings revealed differences for overweight adolescents between the type of substance use and disordered eating behavior. Post hoc analyses revealed that gender moderated some of these relationships among overweight individuals. Implications for the development and implementation of secondary prevention programs aimed at reducing disordered eating behaviors, substance use, and obesity risk among normal and overweight adolescents are considered.
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