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      Body satisfaction and body weight: gender differences and sociodemographic determinants

      1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
      BMC Public Health
      BioMed Central

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          Given the documented links between body satisfaction, weight-related behaviors, and weight change in adolescents, we sought to examine the prevalence of poor body satisfaction in prepubescent girls and boys and its associations with body weight, socioeconomic factors, and rural residence.


          We obtained data from 4254 girls and boys participating in a population-based survey of grade five students in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. We examined gender specific associations between the prevalence of poor body satisfaction and body mass index (BMI) with generalized additive models and applied multilevel logistic regression methods to estimate associations of body satisfaction with BMI, rural residence, parental education and income, and neighborhood household income.


          We observed a linear increase in poor body satisfaction with increasing BMI in girls. Among boys, however, we found a U-shape association where boys with low BMI and those with high BMI reported higher levels of poor body satisfaction. We also found that poor body satisfaction was more prevalent among girls whose parents had lower educational attainment and among those who reside in rural areas.


          Insight into the unique relationships between body satisfaction and BMI experienced by prepubescent children, males, and populations diverse in parental education and geographic location may help to inform public health initiatives designed to improve weight-related behaviors and reduce overweight in children.

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          Most cited references28

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          High body mass index for age among US children and adolescents, 2003-2006.

          The prevalence of overweight among US children and adolescents increased between 1980 and 2004. To estimate the prevalence of 3 measures of high body mass index (BMI) for age (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) and to examine recent trends for US children and adolescents using national data with measured heights and weights. Height and weight measurements were obtained from 8165 children and adolescents as part of the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), nationally representative surveys of the US civilian, noninstitutionalized population. Prevalence of BMI for age at or above the 97th percentile, at or above the 95th percentile, and at or above the 85th percentile of the 2000 sex-specific Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) BMI-for-age growth charts among US children by age, sex, and racial/ethnic group. Because no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of high BMI for age were found between estimates for 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, data for the 4 years were combined to provide more stable estimates for the most recent time period. Overall, in 2003-2006, 11.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.7%-12.9%) of children and adolescents aged 2 through 19 years were at or above the 97th percentile of the 2000 BMI-for-age growth charts, 16.3% (95% CI, 14.5%-18.1%) were at or above the 95th percentile, and 31.9% (95% CI, 29.4%-34.4%) were at or above the 85th percentile. Prevalence estimates varied by age and by racial/ethnic group. Analyses of the trends in high BMI for age showed no statistically significant trend over the 4 time periods (1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, and 2005-2006) for either boys or girls (P values between .07 and .41). The prevalence of high BMI for age among children and adolescents showed no significant changes between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 and no significant trends between 1999 and 2006.
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            Weight concerns influence the development of eating disorders: a 4-year prospective study.

            The authors examined factors prospectively associated with age of onset of partial syndrome eating disorders over a 4-year interval in a community sample (N = 877) of high school-age adolescent girls. Four percent developed a partial syndrome eating disorder over the interval. A measure of weight concerns was significantly associated with onset in a multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis (p < .001). Girls scoring in the highest quartile on the measure of weight concerns had the highest incidence (10%) of partial syndrome onset, whereas none of the girls in the lowest quartile developed eating disorder symptoms. This finding is consistent with both theoretical and clinical perspectives and may represent a useful step toward the establishment of a rational basis for the choice of a prevention intervention target.
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              Is rural residency a risk factor for overweight and obesity for U.S. children?

              Despite studies suggesting that there is a higher prevalence of overweight or obese children in rural areas in the U.S., there are no national studies comparing the prevalence levels of overweight or obese rural to metropolitan children. The objective of this research was to examine the hypothesis that living in a rural area is a risk factor for children being overweight or obese. Using the National Survey of Children's Heath, the prevalence of overweight and/or obese rural children was compared with that of children in metropolitan settings. Multivariate analyses were performed on the data to detect if differences varied by health services use factors or demographic factors, such as household income, gender, and race. Multivariate analysis revealed that overweight or obese children >or=5 years of age were more likely to live in rural rather than metropolitan areas (odds ratio = 1.252; 95% confidence interval, 1.248, 1.256). Rural overweight U.S. children >or=5 years of age of age were more likely than their metropolitan counterparts to: be white, live in households 3 hours a day, and watch television for >3 hours a day. In addition, they were more likely to have comorbidities. Living in rural areas is a risk factor for children being overweight or obese.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                27 August 2009
                : 9
                : 313
                [1 ]Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, USA
                [2 ]Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA
                [3 ]Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, USA
                [4 ]School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
                Copyright © 2009 Austin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 13 April 2009
                : 27 August 2009
                Research Article

                Public health
                Public health


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