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Health Psychol. 2004 May;23(3):275-82.

Socioeconomic variation in attitudes to eating and weight in female adolescents.

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Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Unit, University College London, London, England.


This study was stimulated by J. Sobal and A. J. Stunkard's (1989) theory that differences in deliberate weight control could underlie the socioeconomic gradient in adult weight. Female adolescents (N=1,248) completed measures of socioeconomic status, social norms for weight, weight ideals, attitudes to weight, and weight control behaviors. Higher socioeconomic status adolescents had greater awareness of the social ideals of slimness and had more family and friends who were trying to lose weight. They also defined a lower body mass index as "fat" and were more likely to have used healthy weight control methods. The results support the idea that socioeconomic differences in weight-related attitudes and behaviors may mediate the development of a gradient in weight.

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