Tendency toward Weight Loss among Iranian Adolescent Girls: Study on Perceived Weight, Ideal Body Mass Index and Attitude toward Eating Disorders

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The perception of adolescents about their weights is a key factor in describing the relationship between current weight and weight control behavior. Incorrect perceived weight may lead to weight loss or gain behaviors. In contrast, there is a group of overweight adolescents who take no action on weight loss. An increasing group of adolescents adopt inappropriate nutritional practices for weight loss despite being normal. This can pose serious complications in the long term. 

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Please find below one of the most incredible research studies on eating disorders from Iran, ‘Tendency toward Weight Loss among Iranian Adolescent Girls: Study on Perceived Weight, Ideal Body Mass Index and Attitude  toward Eating Disorders’.

Tendency toward Weight Loss among Iranian Adolescent Girls: Study on Perceived Weight, Ideal Body Mass Index and Attitude  toward Eating Disorders

 

1 Faculty of Medicine, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj,
Iran.
2 Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran.

Abstract

Background
Adolescents’ perception of their weight is a strong factor in shaping dietary habits and weight control and management. Among non
-overweight and overweight adolescents, both overestimation and
underestimation of weight status are associated with harmful effects. This study aimed to examine the relationship between perceived weight and attitude toward eating disorders among adolescent girls living in Karaj, Iran.
Materials and Methods
Involving a two-stage random sampling, this cross-sectional study was conducted on a total of 537 high school girls 14-18 years of age living in Karaj. The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was employed to screen for attitude toward eating disorder. Also, anthropometric measurements (weight and height), perceived and the ideal weights of the participants were assessed.
Results
The average age of girls participating in the study was 16.12±1.20.
According to the results, 70% of girls had normal body mass index. It was found that the ideal weight of 55% of the girls in the normal
body mass index group fell under the lower than normal boundary. Moreover, the prevalence of eating disorders was estimated to be 23.6%. The attitude toward eating disorder was significantly correlated with body mass index of participants and their self-concept (P<0.05).
Conclusion
The results showed that girl’s adolescent with normal BMI have tendency to the lower weight. Their opinion about ideal weight fall them to the underweight group. Concerns about lean and bony body
require desirable planning and weight management for adolescent girls.
Key Words:
Adolescent girls, Body image, Eating disorders, Ideal w eight, Perceived weight.
*Please cite this article as: Farid M , Akbari Kamrani M.
Tendency toward Weight Loss among Iranian Adolescent Girls: Study on Perceived Weight, Ideal Body Mass Index and Attitude toward Eating Disorders. IntJ Pediatr 2016; 4(7):2203-11.

 

 

 

1- INTRODUCTION

The perception of adolescents about their weights is a key factor in describing the relationship between current weight and weight control behavior. Incorrect perceived weight may lead to weight loss or gain behaviors. In contrast, there is a group of overweight adolescents who take no action on weight loss. An increasing group of adolescents adopt inappropriate nutritional practices for weight loss despite being normal. This can pose serious complications in the long term (1).
Overweight self-perception and attitude toward weight loss behaviors are common among adolescents. The feeling of being overweight versus actual weight gain in adolescents can leave psychological effects (2). The perceived weight is one of the
important aspects of body image, reflecting the individual expected self-image. A misperception about weight can indirectly contribute to dissatisfaction with body weight (3). The individual perception of weight can be a better predictor of actual weight, while the adolescents’ perception of their weight is a strong factor in shaping dietary habits and weight control and management. The normal
weight or underweight adolescents perceive their body as overweight at greater risk of anorexia nervosa. Conversely, overweight adolescents lacking that perception do not exercise to
control their weight (4).

The transition from childhood to adolescence is one of the most important stages of life. Unfavorable perception of the body is a common problem among adolescents (5). Due to physical changes in adolescents over this age range, self -image is affected, thus leading to certain disorders, including eating disorders (6). In psychological terms, eating disorder often begins in adolescence (9). One of the groups at risk of eating disorders involves females 14-25 years of age (7). Eating disorders refer to nutritional and

psychological diseases whose common characteristics are disturbed behavior and nutritional attitudes (1). Common in adolescents, eating disorders are associated with important psychological,
physiological and social complications, which might aggravate the behaviors related to eating disorders (2-8).
All types of eating disorders lead to increased risk of death (3), accounting for the highest mortality rate among psychological
diseases (4). Although anorexia and bulimia have been deemed two distinct eating disorders by the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), the most common eating disorder in the samples is atypical associated with essential physiological and psychological problems (13). For instance, amenorrhea and osteoporosis are the key complications of eating disorders in this age group (10), while mood disorders and depression are common in people with bulimia nervosa (3).
These groups of adolescents are at a higher risk for full eating disorders than healthy adolescents (11). The average prevalence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa among young women are 0.3 and 1%, respectively (12). The prevalence of anorexia nervosa
in adolescent girls is estimated to be about 1%, even though up to 10% of young women aged 16 to 25 might be diagnosed
with the subclinical condition. Moreover, 3 to 10% of American adolescent girls suffer from bulimia nervosa (5).
Since eating disorders form in adolescence persisting until young age, it is crucial to find solutions to curtail the risk of eating
disorders in adolescence. Moreover, adolescents tend to respond faster to treatment owing to the shorter duration of disease and diagnosis (13). It is crucial to explore the issue of preventing and resolving the underlying causes of such disorders. The nutritional status is critical during adolescence in determining
mortality indices and disease in adult life. The importance of the issue doubles with regard to the prevalence of these disorders
(adolescence and onset of adulthood) and its coincidence with the beginning of social activities and individual productivity.
This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of eating
disorders and associated behaviors such as perceived weight and perceived ideal body mass index (BMI) as well as the relationship between perceived weight and ideal body mass index with eating
disorders.

2-MATERIALS AND METHODS

2-1. study group
This was cross-sectional study involving a two-stage random sampling, where a total of 537 high school students participated from Karaj, Iran.
2-2. Inclusion criteria
Willing to participate in the study
Being female.
2-3. Exclusion criteria
Not being in age range 14-18 years old.
2-4. Measures Variables
assessed in this study include socio-demographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements (weight and height), having attitude toward eating disorder, perceived and the ideal weights of the participants.
 
2-4-1. Demographic variables
Demographic questionnaire was used to gathering the socio-demographic data include age and parental occupation and education status.

2-4-2. Body weight and height Height and body weight were measured by an expert examiner. The height was was examined  by tape measure. Body weight was rounded to the nearest 0.1 kg on a standard digital scale (Glamor, Bs-807), with the subjects dressed in light underwear and no shoes. The body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight divided by height squared (kg/m2). Based on the international norms from the WHO (2007 reference) with age and gender-specific BMI (14), BMI cutoffs were the following: overweight, BMI>1SD; obesity, BMI >2SD; and underweight, BMI <-2SD. In this categorization, the ages were expressed by the subjects, including 14 years, from 14 to 15 years old and etc.

2-4-3. Attitude toward eating disorder The nutrition and attitude assessment questionnaire Eating Attitude Test-26 (EAT-26) (Garner and Garfinkel, 1979) to estimate the frequency of subjects at risk
of eating disorders was used. EAT-26 is a screening tool for subjects
prone to eating disorders, the validity and reliability of which have been confirmed by epidemiological studies in different countries. Reliability and validity of the translated EAT-26 in Iran were 0.80, 0.76, respectively (15). The questionnaire contains 26 items
related to attitude, habits and feeding behavior, where the maximum score is 78. The 11 items of questionnaire measure the
nutrition attitude, while 15 items are related to diet performance. The responses in EAT-26 are scored on a Likert scale: always (3 points), most of the time (2points), very often (1 point) and three
additional options include sometimes, rarely or never (0 points). Nevertheless, item in question 25, the scores of “never”, “rarely”, and “sometimes” were 3, 2, and 1, respectively, and three other scales were scored as zero. A score equal to 20 or greater is defined as disordered eating attitude (at risk for eating disorders).
2-4-4. Perceived weight
To assess the perceived weigh ts, the participants were asked about how they perceive their present weights from four options including underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. Furthermore, the participants answered to the ideal weight question from their viewpoint. At the next stage, the ideal BMI was calculated by considering measured height.
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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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