Prospective association between overvaluation of weight and binge eating among overweight adolescent girls

J Adolesc Health. 2015 Jan;56(1):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.08.017. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Purpose: We investigated whether overvaluation of weight, defined as having a high degree of concern with weight such that it unduly influences self-evaluation, was prospectively associated with binge eating onset among overweight adolescent girls and whether overvaluation of weight signaled greater impairment among those with weekly binge eating.

Methods: We used generalized estimating equations to assess the prospective association between weight overvaluation at Time 1 and the onset of weekly binge eating at Time 2 among 767 overweight adolescent girls (ages 12-18 years) participating in the Growing Up Today Study. In a cross-sectional analysis of overweight girls with weekly binge eating at Time 2, we examined whether overvaluation of weight was associated with greater impairment assessed by examining their rates of more severe depressive symptoms and low subjective social status.

Results: At Time 1, 24.5% of overweight/obese girls overvalued weight. Overweight girls who overvalued weight were more likely to have started binge eating weekly 2 years later (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-7.3). Among overweight girls who reported weekly binge eating at Time 2, those who overvalued weight were at greater risk of having more severe depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 10.4; 95% CI, 1.3-85.6). Also among girls with weekly binge eating at Time 2, we saw a significant association between continuous measures of overvaluation and subjective social status (β, .71; 95% CI, .08-1.34) but not in analyses using binary measures.

Conclusions: We found that overvaluation was associated with the development of weekly binge eating in overweight girls and with greater impairment among those with weekly binge eating.

Keywords: Adolescent; Binge eating disorder; Depression; Obesity; Weight overvaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / epidemiology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology