Prevalence of adolescents' self-weighing behaviors and associations with weight-related behaviors and psychological well-being

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Abstract

Purpose: To examine the relationships between self-weighing frequency, and weight-related behaviors and psychological well-being in a population-based sample of adolescents. Methods: This study compared weight-related behaviors between infrequent and frequent self-weighers, stratified by weight status and gender. Data were from Project EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens), a population-based study of 2,778 adolescents. Results: Approximately 14% of girls and boys weighed themselves frequently (weekly or more). In comparison to girls who were infrequent self-weighers, girls who were frequent self-weighers were more likely to diet, engage in unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors, use unhealthy muscle-enhancing behaviors, and have lower self-esteem and greater body dissatisfaction. In comparison to boys who were infrequent self-weighers, boys who were frequent self-weighers were more likely to diet, engage in unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors, use unhealthy muscle-enhancing behaviors, and report greater depressive symptoms. Among overweight adolescents, in addition to being associated with these harmful outcomes, frequent self-weighing was associated with the use of healthy weight control behaviors and with higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous activity. Conclusions: Findings indicate that adolescents who frequently self-weigh themselves are at increased risk for a number of problematic health behaviors and poorer psychological outcomes. For overweight adolescents, frequent self-weighing was additionally associated with a number of positive outcomes. Based upon these findings, any recommendations for weight monitoring should be made cautiously; all adolescents, including overweight adolescents, should be advised not to engage in frequent self-weighing behaviors. Furthermore, any adolescents engaging in frequent self-weighing behaviors should be monitored for problematic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-744
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume52
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial Disclosure: This study was supported by Grant Number R01HL084064 (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer) and Grant Number R01HL093247 (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or the National Institutes of Health. Supported also by National Research Service Award (NRSA) in Primary Medical Care, grant no. T32HP22239 (PI: Borowsky), Bureau of Health Professions , Health Resources and Services Administration , Department of Health and Human Services .

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Self-weighing
  • Weight control behaviors
  • Weight monitoring

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