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Feeling ‘too fat’ rather than being ‘too fat’ increases unhealthy eating habits among adolescents – even in boys
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping. Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Food & Nutrition Research, ISSN 1654-6628, E-ISSN 1654-661X, Vol. 60, 29530Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Adolescence is a period of gender-specific physical changes, during which eating habits develop. To better understand what factors determine unhealthy eating habits such as dieting to lose weight, skipping meals and consumption of unhealthy foods, we studied how physical measurements and body perception relate to eating habits in boys and girls, before and during adolescence.

Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we obtained data from both written questionnaires and physical measurements of height, weight and waist circumference (WC).

Results: Dieting to lose weight and skipping breakfast were more common among adolescents than among younger boys and girls (p<0.05). The strongest risk factor for dieting in both boys and girls was perception of overweight, which persisted after adjusting for age and for being overweight (p<0.01). Another independent risk factor for dieting behaviour was overweight, as defined by body mass index (BMI) among boys (p<0.01) and WC among girls (p<0.05). In both boys and girls, skipping breakfast was associated with both a more negative body perception and higher BMI (p<0.05). Skipping breakfast was also associated with age- and gender-specific unhealthy eating habits such as skipping other meals, lower consumption of fruits and vegetables, and higher consumption of sweets and sugary drinks (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Body perception among adolescents is an important factor relating to unhealthy eating habits, not only in girls, but even in boys. Focus on body perception and eating breakfast daily is crucial for the development of healthy food consumption behaviours during adolescence and tracking into adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Co-Action Publishing , 2016. Vol. 60, 29530
Keyword [en]
Body image, overweight, adolescent behaviour, food habits, prevention
National Category
Clinical Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123852DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v60.29530ISI: 000370126700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-123852DiVA: diva2:892842
Note

On the day of the defence date the status of this article was Manuscript.

Funding agencies:  Erik Johan Ljungberg Educational Fund; County Council of Ostergotland; Medical Research Council of south-east Sweden [FORSS-233111]

Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Balancing body perception during growth and development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Balancing body perception during growth and development
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Among children and adolescents, the drive to be slender and the fear of being fat is a growing public health concern. This trend stands in contrast to the increasing prevalence of overweight reported worldwide. Both feeling too fat and being overweight are associated with physical, psychological and social health-related issues from a shortand long-term perspective. The aim of this thesis is to study body perception in relation to actual body size and the bodily changes that occur naturally during puberty. Another objective is to identify risk factors for overweight, overweight perception and unhealthy eating habits in childhood and adolescence.

This thesis describes the prevalence of 1) perception of overweight, 2) overweight/obesity and 3) unhealthy eating habits in Finland and Sweden. We compare our results with the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Behaviour in Schoolchildren (HBSC) survey in 2001/2002 and 2009/2010. Our cross-sectional studies were performed on a female cohort of 11-18 year old girls in Finland and a cohort of boys and girls 7-17 years in Sweden.

In both Finland and Sweden, the prevalence of overweight increased over time, especially among boys. Also perception of overweight increased over time – not just among girls, but also among boys. We found social inequality in overweight, particularly in boys in relation to maternal socioeconomic status. No social inequality, but age and gender differences were found in relation to perception of overweight, where girls older than 13 years showed the highest prevalence. Body perception among girls agreed better with international reference values for waist circumference (WC) than for body mass index (BMI). Breast development and acne increased the risk for overweight perception, particularly among non-overweight girls. Perception of overweight was the strongest risk factor for dieting and skipping breakfast in both boys and girls. These behaviours were more common among adolescents than among younger boys and girls. Skipping breakfast was related to unbalanced food consumption patterns in both sexes, but in a gender-specific way.

We have shown that body perception during growth and development relates to a complex age- and gender-specific balance between body size, stage and timing of pubertal maturation, eating habits as well as parental and peer influences. From a broader perspective, improving adequate body perception entails optimising this balance by influencing one or more of the individual, societal and environmental factors that determine health outcomes among children and adolescents, tracking into adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 73 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1482
National Category
Pediatrics Nutrition and Dietetics Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Clinical Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123861 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-123861 (DOI)978-91-7685-947-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-10, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-01-12 Created: 2016-01-12 Last updated: 2016-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, PerNelson Follin, Nina

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Division of Clinical SciencesFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in LinköpingDepartment of Paediatrics in Linköping
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Food & Nutrition Research
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