The effects of weight perception on adolescents’ weight-loss intentions and behaviors: Evidence from the youth risk behavior surveillance survey

Maoyong Fan, Yanhong Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the correlation between self-perception of being overweight and weight loss intentions, eating and exercise behaviors, as well as extreme weight-loss strategies for U.S. adolescents. This study uses 50,241 observations from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS) 2001–2009, which were nationally representative sample of 9th- through 12th-grade students in both public and private schools in the US. This study finds that, irrespective of the weight status base on self-reported weight and height, adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight have a stronger intention to lose weight, but do not develop better eating and exercise habits, compared with their counterparts of same gender and reported weight status. Normal-weight adolescents, if they perceive themselves as overweight, are more likely to engage in health-compromising weight-loss methods. This study shows that it is critical to transform weight-loss intentions into actual behaviors among overweight/obese adolescents and improve the efficacy of behavioral interventions against childhood obesity. It also highlights the need of establishing a correct perception of body weight among normal weight adolescents to curb extreme weight-loss methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14640-14668
Number of pages29
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Diet habit
  • Overweight perception
  • Physical activity
  • Weight-loss behavior

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