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ERIC Number: EJ833245
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-1932-5037
Middle School Students' Weight Perceptions, Dieting Behaviors, and Life Satisfaction
Esch, Laura; Zullig, Keith J.
American Journal of Health Education, v39 n6 p345-352 Nov-Dec 2008
Background: Previous research has posited that significant relationships exist between health status and psychological measures of health (e.g., self-esteem). Less is known about the relationship between perceived quality of life (e.g., life satisfaction), weight perceptions, and dieting behaviors, particularly among middle school adolescents. Purpose: This study investigated the association between weight perceptions and unhealthful dieting behaviors and overall life satisfaction among middle school students. Methods: Separate models were created for 245 7th and 8th grade males and females using the CDC's 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). ANOVA analyses and Tukey Honest Significant Difference (HSD) tests compared weight perceptions and dieting behaviors to overall life satisfaction. Results: Females were significantly more likely to report reduced life satisfaction if reporting being overweight, eating less, fasting, or taking diet pills to lose weight (effect sizes 0.96-5.80) (p less than 0.01). Males were significantly more likely to report reduced life satisfaction if reporting being overweight or fasting to lose weight (effect sizes 4.58-4.75) (p less than 0.05). Discussion: Unhealthful weight perceptions and dieting behaviors develop early in adolescence and impact life satisfaction. Translation to Health Education Practice: Comprehensive educational programs for prevention and intervention of weight misperceptions and unhealthful dieting are needed and must acknowledge gender differences. (Contains 3 tables.)
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-213-7193; Fax: 703-476-9527; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Youth Risk Behavior Survey