Body weight and body shape concerns and related behaviours among Indian urban adolescent girls.

Public health nutrition

PubMedID: 25079706

Som N, Mukhopadhyay S. Body weight and body shape concerns and related behaviours among Indian urban adolescent girls. Public Health Nutr. 2014;1-9.
OBJECTIVE
To assess the associations of body weight and body shape concerns and related behaviours with actual weight status among urban adolescent girls.

DESIGN
In the present cross-sectional study, a self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on body weight and body shape concerns and related behaviours. Sociodemographic information was collected using a pre-tested schedule. Weight and height of each girl were measured to assess actual weight status.

SETTING
Twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah, West Bengal, India.

SUBJECTS
A total of 1223 adolescent girls aged 14-19 years were selected from nine schools in Kolkata and Howrah in West Bengal.

RESULTS
Many overweight girls perceived themselves as overweight and engaged in weight-reducing activities. However, several normal-weight girls also perceived them as overweight and attempted to lose weight. Unhealthy eating practices to reduce weight were followed by both overweight and normal-weight girls and even by a few underweight girls. Multivariate binary logistic regression showed a significant association between actual weight status and use of unhealthy weight-loss measures. The likelihood of adopting unhealthy eating practices was significantly higher among overweight than normal-weight girls.

CONCLUSIONS
Health education programmes should be introduced at schools to promote effective weight-control practices that help dispel myths about weight loss.