A cross-cultural study investigating body features associated with male adolescents' body dissatisfaction in Australia, China, and Malaysia.
BACKGROUND The objective of this study was to identify 10-year longitudinal predictors of overweight incidence during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. METHODS Data were from Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults). A diverse, population-based cohort (N = 2,134) completed baseline surveys in 1998-1999 (mean age = 15.0±1.6, 'adolescence') and follow-up surveys in 2008-2009 (mean age = 25.4±1.7, 'young adulthood'). Surveys assessed personal, behavioral and socio-environmental factors hypothesized to be of relevance to obesity, in addition to height and weight. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the adjusted odds for each personal, behavioral and socio-environmental factor at baseline, and 10-year changes for these factors, among non-overweight adolescents (n = 1,643) being predictive of the incidence of overweight (BMI ≥ 25) at 10-year follow-up. RESULTS At 10-year follow-up, 51% of young adults were overweight (26% increase from baseline). Among females and males, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, weight concerns, unhealthy weight control behaviors (e.g., fasting, purging), dieting, binge eating, weight-related teasing, and parental weight-related concerns and behaviors during adolescence and/or increases in these factors over the study period predicted the incidence of overweight at 10-year follow-up. Females with higher levels of whole grain intake and breakfast and dinner consumption frequency during adolescence were protected against becoming overweight. Among males, increases in vegetable intake protected against the incidence of overweight 10 years later. CONCLUSIONS Findings suggest that obesity prevention interventions for adolescents should address weight-specific factors from within the domains of personal, behavioral, and socio-environmental factors such as promoting positive body image, decreasing unhealthy weight control behaviors, and limiting negative weight talk.