Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth-grade children

J Am Diet Assoc. 1992 Jul;92(7):818-22.


Behaviors and concerns related to weight were measured among 457 fourth-grade children attending 10 rural schools in central Iowa. A questionnaire was used to gather data on the children's concerns about being overweight, concerns that certain types or amounts of food would contribute to their being overweight, alterations in food intake to avoid being overweight, and perceptions that peers and family members were concerned about being overweight. In addition, each child's height and weight were measured. Weight-related behaviors and concerns increased with increasing weight-for-age and body mass index (BMI) and were more prevalent among girls than boys. The frequency of drinking diet soft drinks was positively correlated with weight-for-age and BMI and tended to increase with an increase in weight-related behaviors and concerns. Girls were more likely than boys to report a desire to be thinner (60.3% vs 38.4%), whereas boys were more likely than girls to want to be taller (67.2% vs 49.1%). The desire for less body fat was significantly associated with an increase in the frequency of weight-related behaviors and concerns, the frequency of drinking diet soft drinks, weight-for-age, and BMI. These findings indicate a need for interventions that combat fear of obesity and restrictive eating among growing children.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Beverages
  • Body Height
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Male
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage


  • Sweetening Agents