Prevalence of weight-related concerns and behaviours among New Zealand young people


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Dr Jennifer Utter, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Fax: +64 9 3737503; email:


Aim:  The study aims to describe the prevalence of weight loss behaviours and weight-related concerns among a nationally representative sample of adolescents in New Zealand.

Methods:  Data for this study were collected as part of Youth'07, a nationally representative survey of the health and well-being of 9107 secondary school students in New Zealand.

Results:  More than one third of males and 65% of females tried to lose weight in the past year. Approximately 10% of males and 29% of females reported using at least one of the unhealthy weight control behaviours in the past year (fasted, skipped meals, smoked, vomited, diet pills). Among females and males, using unhealthy weight control behaviours was most prevalent among those who were older, overweight and lived in high-deprivation areas.

Conclusion:  Unhealthy weight control behaviours among New Zealand adolescents are common and warrant future research and discussion to understand why so many young people use unhealthy weight loss strategies.