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