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Qual Life Res. 2012 Aug;21(6):1101-7. doi: 10.1007/s11136-011-0019-0. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Perceived body shape, standardized body-mass index, and weight-specific quality of life of African-American, Caucasian, and Mexican-American adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Campus Box 359455, Seattle, WA 98195-9455, USA.



To examine associations among perceived body shape, standardized body-mass index (zBMI), and weight-specific quality of life in African-American, Caucasian, and Mexican-American adolescents, aged 11-18 years.


Self-report questionnaires were administered to 454 adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age, of whom 53% were females, 33% were Caucasians, 30% were African-Americans, and 37% were Mexican-Americans. Thirty-four percent had a healthy zBMI, 20% were overweight, and 46% were obese.


In examining the adjusted R-square and R-square changes among stepwise regression models, the model with depressive symptoms (adjusted R-square = 0.34), perceived body shape (adjusted R-square = 0.49), and female sex (adjusted R-square = 0.53) appears to be the most parsimonious and explanatory model for these data. Race/ethnicity and age did not enter the equations, due to their significance levels being greater than the probability of removal (0.1).


This study demonstrates the importance of including the perceptual measures of weight-specific quality of life and perceived body shape in studies of and interventions with overweight and obese adolescents. Including these perceptual measures may provide increased insight into the motivations and values of overweight and obese youth and thus be useful for designing more effective weight interventions.

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