Teens Who Feel Fat Run the Risk of Becoming Overweight Adults

Perception is everything--it dictates how we behave and interact with others, but also how we treat ourselves. For teenagers perceptions about weight can often be skewed, which could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy

How we perceive ourselves is important. It dictates how we behave and interact with others, but also how we treat ourselves. For teenagers perceptions about weight can often be skewed, which could lead to unhealthy dieting that could result in real weight issue later on in life.


Melissa Dahl from NYMag got an advanced copy of a recent study set to be published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers, led by Angelina R. Sutin from the Florida State University College of Medicine, found data that indicates teens who perceived themselves to be overweight have a 40 percent greater chance of becoming obese before they turned 30.

The study took data from a survey that was collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that interviewed teens at age 16 and again when they were 28. The survey consisted of a total of 6,523 people. The researchers asked the teens how they felt about their weight and themselves. They also took measurements of their height and weight to determine their BMIs as teens and again as adults.

Sutin's team zeroed-in on particular cases where teens felt they were overweight or obese, but their BMIs' indicated the opposite. Her team then compared these teens with the ones who perceived their weight accurately. The results were as stated above: teens who perceived themselves as obese (and were not) had a 40 percent greater risk of becoming overweight than those with an accurate perception of their weight.

Sutin suggests that these at-risk teens may engage in unhealthy dieting strategies that may cause them to gain more weight.

Read more at NYMag

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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