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J Pediatr Psychol. 2002 Sep;27(6):531-40.

Weight control behaviors among obese, overweight, and nonoverweight adolescents.

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  • 1Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.



To evaluate weight control behaviors, eating, and physical activity behaviors among obese, overweight, and nonoverweight female and male adolescents.


A representative sample of 8,330 7th, 9th, and 11th grade public school students in Connecticut participated in the study. Adolescents responded to questions about weight control behaviors (dieting, exercise, vomiting, diet pills, and laxatives), healthy eating behaviors, breakfast consumption, and vigorous physical activity.


In comparison to nonoverweight youths, overweight adolescents were less likely to eat breakfast and less likely to engage in vigorous physical activity than nonoverweight youths. Higher prevalences of unhealthy weight control behaviors were evident among overweight youths.


Overweight adolescents use more unhealthy weight management strategies and are not engaging in healthier strategies, such as increased physical activity or healthier eating. These findings suggest the need to provide consistent messages about healthy weight loss methods to adolescents.

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