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Weight Misperception and Health Risk Behaviors Among Early Adolescents

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Objectives: To examine associations between weight misperception and youth health risk and protective factors. Methods: Three thousand ten US seventh-graders (72.1% white, mean age: 12.7 years) self-reported height, weight, risk, and protective factors. Analyses were conducted to determine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between weight overestimation and health risk and protective factors. Results: Risk and protective factors had significant cross-sectional associations with weight overestimation. However, only depressive symptoms and reduced optimism predicted weight overestimation in eighth grade. Weight overestimation did not predict engagement in risky behaviors. Conclusions: Weight overestimation and risk factors appear to co-occur, suggesting a constellation of risk that warrants further research.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Austin, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, Austin, TX 2: The Ohio State University, Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Columbus, OH 3: University of Minnesota, Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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