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Weight and Health in Adolescents
Weight Reduction Habits in Normal-Weight Girls / Boys and Obese Girls / Boys
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Weight & Health in Adolescents

Weight Loss Study Aim
The present study assessed satisfaction with weight, shape, and physical appearance, as well as the frequency of weight reduction efforts, in four well-defined groups of adolescents: (1) normal-weight girls; (2) normal-weight boys; (3) obese girls; and (4) obese boys. Subjects were selected from 453 females and 355 males from a parochial school. In addition to the measurements of height and weight, adolescents completed a series of questionnaires on weight and dieting, weight and figure satisfaction, parents' attitudes toward weight, and anxiety.

Weight Loss Study Results
Only 49 percent of obese boys had tried to lose weight over the past year as compared to 90 percent of the obese girls. Only 13 percent of the obese boys were currently dieting as compared to 62 percent of the obese girls. Despite the relative equivalence of weight in the obese boys and girls, the boys perceived themselves to be less overweight and happier with their looks than obese girls. Thirty-three percent of normal-weight girls were dieting, and 70 percent had attempted weight loss over the past year. They were significantly less happy with their weight and figure than were average-weight boys and, remarkably, did not differ significantly from overweight boys on these measures.

Weight Loss Study Issues
Obese adolescent males, in particular, need to be educated about the potential liabilities of their excess weight and encouraged to take appropriate action to correct it.

Source: Steen SN, Wadden TA, Foster GD, Andersen RE. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-2648, USA.

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