Unhealthy Weight-control Behaviours, Dieting and Weight Status: A Cross-cultural Comparison between North American and Spanish Adolescents

Authors

  • Gemma López-Guimerà,

    Corresponding author
    • Dept. of Clinical and Health Psychology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain
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  • Dianne Neumark-Sztainer,

    1. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • Peter Hannan,

    1. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • Jordi Fauquet,

    1. Dept. of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Sciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Research Group in Neuroimage (GREEN), Fundació IMIM, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Katie Loth,

    1. Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • David Sánchez-Carracedo

    1. Dept. of Clinical and Health Psychology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain
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Correspondence: Gemma López-Guimerà, PhD, Dept. of Clinical and Health Psychology, Edifici B, Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain.

Email: gemma.lopez@uab.cat

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to examine and compare dieting and unhealthy weight-control behaviours (UWCB) in population-based samples in two large urban areas in Spain (Barcelona) and in the USA (Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota). Additionally, use of UWCB across weight categories was explored in both samples. Participants included 1501 adolescents from Barcelona (48% girls, 52% boys) and 2793 adolescents from the Twin Cities (53% girls, 47% boys). The main outcome measures were dieting, UWCB (less extreme and extreme) and weight status. Although dieting and UWCB were prevalent in both samples, particularly among girls, the prevalence was higher in the US sample. In both countries, the report of dieting and use of UWCB was highest among overweight and obese youth. Prevention interventions that address the broad spectrum of eating and weight-related problems should be warranted in light of the high prevalence and co-occurrence of overweight and unhealthy weight-related behaviours. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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