September 1991

Demographic and Risk Factors Associated With Chronic Dieting in Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Adolescent Health Program, Department of Pediatrics, and School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Drs Story, Himes, Resnick, and Blum and Ms Harris), and the Division of Maternal and Child Health, Minnesota Department of Health (Ms Rosenwinkel).

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(9):994-998. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160090046020

• A comprehensive, school-based survey was administered to 36 320 Minnesota public school students in grades 7 through 12 during the 1987-1988 school year. Self-reported chronic dieting was much higher in girls than in boys (12.1% of all girls vs 2.1% of boys). For girls, the percentage of chronic dieters was significantly less in grades 7 and 8 (7.8%) than in grades 9 and 10 (13.5%) or grades 11 and 12 (14.3%). There were no differences among urban, suburban, or rural youth. Black girls were less likely to diet compared with white girls. Chronic dieters were more likely than other students to report maladaptive weight-loss techniques, such as self-induced vomiting (relative risk, 9.92 for girls and 9.40 for boys), laxative use (relative risk, 7.18 for girls and 11.00 for boys), ipecac use (relative risk, 8.33 for girls and 11.00 for boys), and diuretic use (relative risk, 7.30 for girls and 13.5 for boys). It is suggested that chronic dieting may serve as a screening marker for more severe eating and weight-loss behaviors.

(AJDC. 1991;145:994-998)