Weight perceptions and weight control practices in American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents. A national survey.
OBJECTIVE: To assess weight perceptions and weight control practices among American Indian-Alaska Native adolescents. DESIGN: Survey. SETTING: Nonurban schools from eight Indian Health Service areas. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 13,454 seventh- through 12th-grade American Indian-Alaska Native youths. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A revised version of the Adolescent Health Survey, a comprehensive, anonymous self-report questionnaire with eating- and body image-related questions. RESULTS: Forty-one percent of the adolescent girls reported feeling overweight, 50% were dissatisfied with their weight, and 44% worried about being overweight. Almost half (48%) had been on a weight-loss diet in the past year, with 27% reporting that they had self-induced vomiting at some time to try to lose weight. Eleven percent reported using diet pills. Girls who reported feeling overweight were more likely to engage in unhealthy weight control practices than were those who felt they were of normal weight or underweight. A larger proportion of boys were satisfied with their weight (68%), with 22% worrying about being overweight. However, compared with rural Minnesota youth, both American Indian girls and boys had greater dissatisfaction with body weight. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that American Indian youth, particularly girls, are dissatisfied with their weight and are worried about being overweight, and that unhealthy weight control practices are common. More attention needs to be placed on developing culturally appropriate weight management programs for Indian youths.
Story, M; Hauck, FR; Broussard, BA; White, LL; Resnick, MD; Blum, RW
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