Perception of overweight and self-esteem during adolescence

Academic Article


  • Objective: To examine sex- and race/ethnicity-specific relationships between adolescents' self-esteem and weight perception. Method: Descriptive analysis and logistic regression of Wave II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 6,427 males, 6,574 females; ages 11-21) examined associations between low self-esteem and perceived overweight within body mass index (BMI) percentile categories, controlling for sociodemographics and stratified by sex and race/ethnicity. Results: 25.1% and 8% of normal weight females and males, respectively, perceived themselves as overweight, with variation by race/ethnicity. Low self-esteem was most strongly associated with misperceived overweight in moderate BMI percentile categories (males: OR 5 2.34; 95% CI: 1.60-3.41; females: OR 5 2.39; 95% CI: 1.82, 3.16). Odds of correctly perceived overweight were higher for low (versus high) self-esteem in white and black females but not males of any race/ethnicity. Discussion: Understanding subgroup differences by race/ethnicity in perceived overweight-self-esteem relationships may inform eating disorders' prevention strategies. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 7140723
  • Author List

  • Perrin EM; Boone-Heinonen J; Field AE; Coyne-Beasley T; Gordon-Larsen P
  • Start Page

  • 447
  • End Page

  • 454
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 5