Disordered eating and psychological well-being in overweight and nonoverweight adolescents: Secular trends from 1999 to 2010

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Objective: In this research study, we examine how both overweight and nonoverweight adolescent girls and boys fared from 1999 to 2010 in terms of disordered eating behaviors and psychosocial well-being. Method: A repeated cross-sectional design was used. Participants were recruited from public schools in 1999 (n = 3072, mean age = 14.6 ± 1.8) and 2010 (n = 2793, mean age = 14.4 ± 2.0). Secular trends were examined by weight status and gender using inverse probability weighting to control for changes in socio-demographics. Results: In general, the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors and markers of psychosocial well-being among overweight girls and boys remained the same from 1999 to 2010. In contrast, among nonoverweight girls, chronic dieting, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and extreme weight control behaviors decreased, and body satisfaction improved during this time period. Further, among non-overweight boys, the prevalence of unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors decreased, as did mean depression scores. Discussion: Overall, findings indicate a strong need to ensure that messages about the dangers of disordered eating behaviors are reaching overweight youth. Obesity prevention interventions should not overlook the comorbid nature of obesity, disordered eating and poor psychosocial health; prevention programming should address shared risk factors, including dieting, media use, body dissatisfaction, and weight-related teasing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-327
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015



  • adolescents
  • dieting
  • disordered eating
  • obesity
  • psychosocial well-being
  • secular trends
  • weight control

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