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Paediatr Child Health. 2010 May;15(5):283-8.

The relation between weight-based teasing and psychological adjustment in adolescents.

Author information

1
Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario. ggoldfield@cheo.on.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the prevalence of weight-based teasing, and evaluate its association with depression, anxiety and unhealthy eating behaviour in a large sample of adolescents in the Ottawa (Ontario) area.

METHODS:

A total of 1491 adolescents from public and private middle schools and high schools in rural and urban areas of Ottawa responded confidentially to surveys.

RESULTS:

More girls than boys reported that they experienced weight-based teasing (33% versus 18%). The prevalence of weight-based teasing by peers was significantly higher among overweight and obese youth than among normal weight youth (45% versus 22%). Teasing about body weight was consistently associated with anxiety, psychological distress and disordered eating, and these associations held for both boys and girls, and were independent of weight status.

CONCLUSIONS:

Weight-based teasing is a common experience among Ottawa-area adolescents, especially among overweight girls, and was found to be associated with psychological morbidity. Effective interventions are needed to help victims cope with and prevent further weight-based teasing and its harmful psychological sequelae.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Weight-teasing; Well-being

PMID:
21532792
PMCID:
PMC2912633
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