Purpose To identify personal and socioenvironmental factors associated with the persistence of dieting or disordered eating from adolescence to young adulthood and factors associated with the initiation of dieting or disordered eating during young adulthood.
Methods Participants (n = 4,746) completed EAT-I surveys as adolescents; EAT-III surveys were completed 10 years later by 1,902 of the original participants (1,082 females and 820 males).
Results Study results indicate that there are personal factors, including weight concerns, weight importance, depressive symptoms and body satisfaction, present during adolescence that are predictive of an individual's engagement in dieting or disordered eating behaviors 10 years later. For example, among both males and females, weight importance was found to be predictive of continued dieting and disordered eating from adolescence through young adulthood. For example, 26.1% of males with low levels of weight concern at baseline reported engaging in persistent disordered eating as compared with 60.4% of males with high levels of weight concern at baseline (prevalence difference: 34.3; 95% confidence interval: 10.5-58.1; p <.01). Parental weight concerns, peer dieting, and weight teasing at baseline were not found to be predictive of dieting or disordered eating at 10-year follow-up.
Conclusions Personal factors identified during adolescence were found to be predictive of both persistent dieting and disordered eating from adolescence into young adulthood, as well as initiation of these behaviors during young adulthood. In particular, weight concerns and weight importance were found to be predictive in most models providing support for inclusion of these factors in adolescent health screening.
- Disordered eating
- Eating disorder
- Life course
- Young adult