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April 1990

Body Image and Eating Behavior in Adolescent Boys

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(4):475-479. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150280097020

• A questionnaire about attitudes toward body weight and shape, and eating and weight control practices, was administered to 895 adolescent boys. Overall, 42% were dissatisfied with their weight and 33% with their body shape. Sixty-eight percent of the dissatisfied normal weight boys thought they were underweight and 32% thought they were overweight. Subjects dissatisfied with their body shape were most likely to desire an increased chest and arm size and decreased abdomen size. Binge eating (24%) and fasting (12%) were the most prevalent eating practices and were more common in boys dissatisfied with weight or shape. There was no difference in prevalence of eating practices between boys wishing to gain and boys wishing to lose weight. Although many boys were concerned about body weight and shape, they wished to increase weight and muscularity, rather than lose weight. Binge eating was common, but was not related to the binge-purge cycle described in girls, because losing weight is not a major concern, and other weight control practices were not more common among boys who wanted to lose weight vs gain.

(AJDC. 1990;144:475-479)