Adolescents' Perceptions of Relative Weight and Self-Reported Weight Loss Activities



ABSTRACT: Data from the 1990 North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) were used to examine adolescents' perceptions of relative weight and the relationship of these perceptions to physical activity levels, efforts to lose weight, and time spent viewing television. A total of 3,437 ninth and 12th grade respondents to the May 1990 survey were included in the analysis. Of this sample, 25% perceived themselves as “too fat.” Of that group, 68% were trying to lose weight. Females made up 75% of those reporting they were “too fat” and were trying to lose weight. White females were more likely to think of themselves as overweight and were more likely to be trying to lose weight than black females. Adolescents who perceived themselves as “too fat” reported fewer days of strenuous activity, fewer hours of strenuous exercise in physical education classes, and more hours spent viewing television on school days.