Association of Weight Perception, Body Satisfaction, and Weight Loss Intention With Patterns of Health Risk Behaviors in Adolescents With Overweight and Obesity

Behav Med. 2023 Jul-Sep;49(3):302-311. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2022.2057407. Epub 2022 Apr 25.


Obesity is a public health issue and childhood is a critical window in which to establish healthy eating patterns and modify risk factors for overweight. This study aims to verify the association of weight perception, body satisfaction, and weight loss intention with patterns of health risk behaviors in adolescents with overweight and obesity. We analyzed health risk behavior from a school-based national survey conducted in 2015 in Brazil (n = 2,703 students with overweight or obesity, aged 13-17 years). We performed latent class analysis of alcohol consumption, tobacco use, physical activity, screen time, and eating habits for adolescents with overweight and identified four distinct health behavior patterns. The association of these patterns with weight perception, body satisfaction, and weight loss intention was analyzed through multinomial logistic regression. Adolescents who perceived themselves as "fat" or "very fat" were more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle and low consumption of fruit and vegetables. Body satisfaction was a protective factor against sedentary lifestyle. Students who reported weight loss intention were less likely to be in high-health-risk behavior groups (low consumption of fruit and vegetables; sedentary lifestyle; tobacco and alcohol use). Self-perception as overweight had detrimental associations, while body satisfaction was a protective factor for a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss intention still requires rigorous analysis due to inconsistencies in the literature. The complexity of the relationship between body image and obesity needs to be highlighted. Multicomponent strategies are required to control the global obesity pandemic.

Keywords: body dissatisfaction; body image; health-risk behaviors; obesity management; pediatric obesity; weight perception.