Psychosocial and behavioral correlates of dieting among overweight and non-overweight adolescents

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123 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine correlates of dieting behavior in overweight and non-overweight youth. Methods: Data came from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), a study of eating and weight-related attitudes, behaviors, and psychosocial variables among 4746 adolescents in public schools. Logistic regression was used to compare dieters and non-dieters, and to examine interactions of dieting and overweight status. Results: Approximately one third (31.8%) of the sample was overweight. Dieting in the previous year was reported by 55.2% of girls and 25.9% of boys. Dieting was associated with similarly elevated rates of extreme weight control behaviors, body dissatisfaction, and depression in both the non-overweight and overweight groups for both boys and girls. Girls reporting dieting behavior in both the non-overweight and overweight groups had similarly elevated risk for cigarette use, alcohol use, and marijuana use. Conclusions: The negative correlates of dieting are similarly common among teens of varying weight status. These data suggest that dieting may not be a preferred method of weight management, even for overweight adolescents. Regardless of weight status, dieting may be a marker for other unhealthy behaviors and depressed mood in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-574
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This word was supported in part by grant MCJ-270834 (D. Neumark-Sztainer, principal investigator) from the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, US Public Health Service; and grant K-02 MH65919 (SJC).


  • Adolescents
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Depression
  • Dieting
  • Overweight


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