Body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight-control practices among adolescents with and without chronic illness: a population-based study

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995 Dec;149(12):1330-5. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170250036005.


Objective: To compare body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight-loss practices among adolescents with and without chronic illness.

Design: Survey.

Participants: The sample consisted of 2149 adolescent boys and girls with diabetes, asthma, attention deficit disorder, physical disabilities, or seizure disorders; and a comparison group of 1381 adolescents without chronic illness.

Main outcome measures: Body concerns, binge eating, frequent dieting, vomiting, and laxative or diuretic use among adolescents.

Results: Adolescents with chronic illness reported higher body dissatisfaction and engaged in more high-risk weight-loss practices than adolescents without chronic illness. This trend was consistent across the different conditions and was not limited to those with a nutrition-related condition such as diabetes. The trend remained after conducting logistic regression and controlling for age, race, socioeconomic status, and body mass index.

Conclusions: Adolescents with chronic illness are at high risk for engaging in unhealthy weight-loss practices and should be screened and targeted for prevention and treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Bulimia / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires