Purpose: Psychologic and behavioral changes associated with frequent dieting were examined. Compared to nondieters, frequent dieters were hypothesized to show more adverse psychologic changes and increased use of unhealthy weight control behaviors, but possibly healthier eating and exercise behavior changes, over the three-year period of observation. Methods: A prospective study of female students, in grades 7-10 at baseline completed a health behavior survey in school once a year for a total of three years. Results: Restrained eating, body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness, self-induced vomiting, laxative use, diet pill use, and alcohol use, significantly increased, and physical appearance and self-concept significantly decreased among frequent dieters, compared to non-dieters. Changes in scores on five EDI subscales, eight self-esteem subscales, weight fluctuations, dietary intake, and physical activity patterns did not significantly differ over time by dieting status. Conclusion: Dieting may reflect a general pattern of unhealthy behaviors adopted in adolescence, rather than act as a causal factor in promoting psychologic distress.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, and the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. Address correspondence to: Dr. Simone A. French, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South Second Street, Mimleapolis, MN 55454-1019. This research was supported by a grant NIH R01 HD24700 to Dr. Gloria R. Leon. Manuscript accepted December 10, 1994.
- Binge eating
- Eating disorders
- Health promotion
- Restrained eating