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Dieting and desire for weight loss among adolescents in Denmark: a questionnaire survey

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To report on the first study in Denmark of the prevalence of dieting and other weight-loss behaviours among adolescents.


A cross-sectional study of 2094 pupils from grade 8–12, aged 14–21 years, throughout Denmark. The pupils responded to a self-administered 49-item questionnaire, which was constructed by an Expert Committee in the Danish National Board of Health.


The prevalence of dieting and other weight-loss behaviours were comparable to results from other countries, particularly from the Nordic countries. Dieting was dependent on BMI and sex and did not increase with age. However, the desire for weight loss increased with age for both sexes and body dissatisfaction became more extreme with age. Many boys desired a weight gain instead of a weight loss.


Dieting and other weight control behaviours increased with increasing BMI. However, most dieting and wish for weight loss was not justified by obesity but seemed to depend on a perception of being overweight. The need for identifying adolescents with at-risk behaviour related to eating disorders is emphasized. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
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Keywords: Body Mass Index; adolescence; dieting; eating disorders; weight loss

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Institute of Public Health, Svanemøllevej 25, Copenhagen, Denmark 2: Danish National Board of Health, Amaliegade 13, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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