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.
- Body image
- Eating disorders