Correlates of unhealthy weight-control behaviors among adolescents: Implications for prevention programs

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Melanie M. Wall, Mary Story, Cheryl L. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aimed to identify correlates of unhealthy weight-control behaviors in adolescents to guide the development of programs aimed at the primary prevention of disordered eating. A model explaining unhealthy weight-control behaviors was tested among 4,746 adolescents using structural equation modeling. Models fit the data well and explained 76% of the variance in unhealthy weight-control behaviors among girls and 63% among boys. Weight-body concerns were a strong correlate of unhealthy weight-control behaviors in both girls and boys. Models also emphasized the importance of weight-specific social norms within the adolescent's proximal environment. Findings suggest the importance of addressing weight-body concerns within prevention programs and extending interventions beyond classroom settings to ensure changes in weight-related norms among peer groups and family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-98
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2003

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Body image
  • Dieting
  • Eating disorders
  • Etiology
  • Prevention

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