Subjects were asked about dieting, extreme weight control behaviors such as fasting, using food substitutes and skipping meals, and binge eating with loss of control. Additional socioeconomic, gender, age, and race/ethnicity data was also collected.
About half of the females reported dieting in the past year compared to about a fourth of the males. The prevalence of dieting remained fairly constant from adolescence through young adulthood for females in both age groups. Among males, the prevalence of dieting stayed constant over time in the younger age cohort, but significantly increased in the older cohort as they progressed from middle adolescence to middle young adulthood (21.9% to 27.9%). In the younger females, unhealthy weight control behaviors remained constant from early adolescence to early young adulthood. Among older females, unhealthy weight control behaviors showed a statistically significant decrease from middle adolescence to middle young adulthood, but still remained very high (60.7% to 54.4%). Approximately one-third of males reported unhealthy weight control behaviors, and the prevalence remained fairly constant over the study period in both age cohorts.
For extreme weight control behaviors, significant increases from adolescence to young adulthood were found in females for both age cohorts and for the older cohort of males. Among females, the use of extreme weight control behaviors increased from 8.4% to 20.4% between early adolescence and early young adulthood and from 12.6% to 20.6% between middle adolescence and middle young adulthood. For the older males, extreme weight control behaviors increased from 2.1% in middle adolescence to 7.3% in middle young adulthood.
These behaviors tended to track within individuals and, in general, p
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Elsevier Health Sciences