Weight status and emotional well-being: Longitudinal findings from project EAT

Katie A. Loth, Jonathan Mond, Melanie Wall, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: To learn more about how overweight is associated with emotional well-being in adolescents and examine change in associations over time. Methods: A prospective study was conducted with a sample of 2,516 adolescents who participated in Project EAT-I (1999) and Project EAT-II (2004). Results: At baseline, overweight participants had lower body satisfaction and decreased self-esteem as compared to normal weight participants. Additionally, an association was found between overweight and depressive symptoms among males during middle adolescence. Longitudinal findings suggest that the adverse impact of overweight on emotional well-being persists into young adulthood, including a marked increase in depressive mood among overweight males between early and middle adolescence. Conclusions: The persistent nature of the association between overweight and emotional well-being suggests that the normal developmental process of adolescence will not "take care" of this association. Instead, clinicians should regularly screen overweight adolescents for markers of poor emotional well-being and consider intervention when appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grant R40 MC 00319 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Resources (to D. N., PI). K.A.L.’s time was supported in part by the Adolescent Health Protection Program (School of Nursing, University of Minnesota) grant number T01-DP000112 (L. Bearinger, PI) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Maternal and Child Health Program or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • adolescence
  • depression
  • longitudinal research
  • obesity


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