Author(s): Fonseca H, Matos MG, Guerra A, Pedro JG
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To identify psychosocial and lifestyle indicators including alcohol consumption, that may distinguish overweight and obese adolescents from their peers, and align them with other adolescents with chronic conditions. METHODS: The sample included 6 131 6th, 8th, and 10th grade public school Portuguese students, aged 11-16 years, who participated in the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC)/WHO survey of adolescent health. Body mass index (BMI) was based on self reported weight and height. Separate analyses of psychosocial and behavioral variables were conducted by gender, age group, and BMI, using Chi square, and ANOVA. RESULTS: Obese and overweight teens when compared with non-overweight teens, were more likely to report a negative attitude towards their appearance; to believe that others made negative comments about them; had a lower level of life satisfaction; had more difficulty in making new friends, and were more likely to describe themselves as unhappy. Moreover, obese teens were significantly more likely than their non-obese peers to describe themselves as having health problems, to report drinking alcohol daily, as well as having been drunk more than 10 times. CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides further evidence regarding the association between overweight and obesity in adolescence, and body image dissatisfaction, poorer self-assessed health status, potential social isolation, decreased life satisfaction, and problematic alcohol consumption patterns. Overweight and obese adolescents should, where possible, be reached with appropriate interventions addressing the broad spectrum of their psychological needs, enhancing their skill development for behavioral change, and providing support for dealing with potentially harmful behaviors.
This article was published in Int J Pediatr Obes
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy