Weight Management, Weight Perceptions, and Health-Compromising Behaviours Among Adolescent Girls in the COMPASS Study

J Prim Prev. 2018 Aug;39(4):345-360. doi: 10.1007/s10935-018-0512-0.


Evidence suggests associations between weight management intentions, weight perceptions, and health-compromising behaviours among adolescent girls. Drawing on cross-sectional data for 21,456 girls, we employed multinomial logistic regression to examine whether smoking, binge drinking, and breakfast-skipping were associated with weight management intentions and weight perceptions. According to self-reported heights and weights, 61.4% of girls were in the healthy weight category. However, most reported trying to manage their weight, with 58% trying to lose, 4.5% trying to gain, and 18% trying to maintain their weight. Smokers were more likely than non-smokers to report intentions to lose, gain, or maintain weight versus to do nothing. However, smokers were less likely than non-smokers to perceive themselves as underweight or overweight versus about the right weight. Binge drinkers were more likely than other girls to report an intention to gain and less likely to be trying to maintain their weight versus doing nothing, and breakfast-skippers were more likely to report trying to lose or gain weight but less likely to report trying to maintain weight versus doing nothing. Binge drinkers and breakfast-skippers were more likely than non-binge drinkers and non-breakfast-skippers, respectively, to perceive themselves as underweight, overweight or very overweight versus about the right weight. In sum, the majority of girls reported trying to manage their weight, and those engaging in other health-compromising behaviours were more likely to do so, though the exact nature of the associations differed by behaviour. Recognition of shared underlying risk factors for this clustering of behaviours may inform comprehensive health promotion efforts.

Keywords: Binge drinking; Dieting; Meal-skipping; Smoking; Weight management; Weight perception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology
  • Body Weight Maintenance*
  • Body Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Logistic Models
  • Smoking / psychology

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