Psychological and behavioral risk factors for obesity onset in adolescent girls: a prospective study

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Apr;73(2):195-202. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.2.195.


Because little is known about risk factors for obesity, the authors tested whether certain psychological and behavioral variables predicted future onset of obesity. The authors used data from a prospective study of 496 adolescent girls who completed a baseline assessment at age 11-15 years and 4 annual follow-ups. Self-reported dietary restraint, radical weight-control behaviors, depressive symptoms, and perceived parental obesity--but not high-fat food consumption, binge eating, or exercise frequency-predicted obesity onset. Results provide support for certain etiologic theories of obesity, including the affect regulation model. The fact that self-reported, weight-control behaviors identified girls at risk for obesity implies that high-risk youths are not engaging in effective weight-control methods and suggests the need to promote more effective strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Parents
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index