Advertisement

Family Weight Talk and Dieting: How Much Do They Matter for Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Behaviors in Adolescent Girls?

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To learn about parent weight talk, parent dieting, and family weight-teasing in the homes of adolescent girls at risk for obesity and weight-related problems. To examine associations between these family variables and girls' weight status, body satisfaction, and disordered eating behaviors.

      Methods

      Data were collected at baseline from girls participating in a school-based intervention to prevent weight-related problems. Participants included 356 adolescent girls from 12 high schools. The girls' mean age was 15.8 years; 46% were overweight or obese; and more than 75% were racial/ethnic minorities.

      Results

      A high percentage of girls reported parent weight talk (i.e., comments about one's own weight and encouragement of daughter to diet), parent dieting, and family weight-teasing. For example, 45% of the girls reported that their mothers encouraged them to diet and 58% reported weight-teasing by family members. Weight-teasing was strongly associated with higher body mass index, body dissatisfaction, unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors, and binge eating with loss of control in the girls. Parent weight talk, particularly by mothers, was associated with many disordered eating behaviors. Mother dieting was associated with girls' unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors. In no instances were family weight talk and dieting variables associated with better outcomes in the girls.

      Conclusions

      Parent weight-related comments and dieting behaviors, and family weight-teasing, may contribute to disordered eating behaviors in adolescent girls. Health care providers can help parents provide a supportive home environment by discouraging weight-based comments, which may be intended to be helpful, but can have unintentional harmful consequences.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Adolescent Health
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Ogden C.L.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Curtin L.R.
        • et al.
        Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999-2004.
        JAMA. 2006; 295: 1549-1555
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Story M.
        • Hannan P.J.
        • et al.
        Weight-related concerns and behaviors among overweight and non-overweight adolescents: Implications for preventing weight-related disorders.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002; 156: 171-178
        • Davison K.K.
        • Birch L.L.
        Childhood overweight: A contextual model and recommendations for future research.
        Obes Rev. 2001; 2: 159-171
        • Golan M.
        Parents as agents of change in childhood obesity – From research to practice.
        Int J Pediatr Obes. 2006; 1: 66-76
        • Mellin A.E.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Patterson J.
        • Sockalosky J.
        Unhealthy weight management behavior among adolescent girls with type 1 diabetes mellitus: The role of familial eating patterns and weight-related concerns.
        J Adolesc Health. 2004; 35: 278-289
        • Keery H.
        • Eisenberg M.E.
        • Boutelle K.
        • et al.
        Relationships between maternal and adolescent weight-related behaviors and concerns: The role of perception.
        J Psychosom Res. 2006; 61: 105-111
        • Fulkerson J.A.
        • McGuire M.T.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • et al.
        Weight-related attitudes and behaviors of adolescent boys and girls who are encouraged to diet by their mothers.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002; 26: 1579-1587
        • Snoek H.M.
        • Van Strien T.
        • Janssens J.M.
        • Engels R.C.
        Longitudinal relationships between fathers', mothers', and adolescents' restrained eating.
        Appetite. 2009; 52: 461-468
        • McCabe M.P.
        • Ricciardelli L.A.
        A prospective study of pressures from parents, peers, and the media on extreme weight change behaviors among adolescent boys and girls.
        Behav Res Ther. 2005; 43: 653-668
        • Keel P.K.
        • Heatherton T.F.
        • Hamden J.L.
        • et al.
        Mothers, fathers, and daughters: Dieting and disordered eating.
        Eat Disord J Treat Prev. 1997; 5: 216-228
        • Hanna A.C.
        • Bond M.J.
        Relationships between family conflict, perceived maternal verbal messages, and daughters' disturbed eating symptomatology.
        Appetite. 2006; 47: 205-211
        • Baker C.W.
        • Whisman M.A.
        • Brownell K.D.
        Studying intergenerational transmission of eating attitudes and behaviors: Methodological and conceptual questions.
        Health Psychol. 2000; 19: 376-381
        • Keery H.
        • Boutelle K.
        • Van Den Berg P.
        • Thompson J.K.
        The impact of appearance-related teasing by family members.
        J Adolesc Health. 2005; 37: 120-127
        • Eisenberg M.E.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Story M.
        Associations of weight-based teasing and emotional well-being among adolescents.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003; 157: 733-738
        • Cooley E.
        • Toray T.
        • Wang M.C.
        • Valdez N.N.
        Maternal effects on daughters' eating pathology and body image.
        Eat Behav. 2008; 9: 52-61
        • Kichler J.C.
        • Crowther J.H.
        The effects of maternal modeling and negative familial communication on women's eating attitudes and body image.
        Behav Ther. 2001; 32: 443-447
        • Dixon R.
        • Adair V.
        • O'Connor S.
        Parental influences of the dieting beliefs and behaviors of adolescent females in New Zealand.
        J Adolesc Health. 1996; 19: 303-307
        • Field A.E.
        • Austin S.B.
        • Striegel-Moore R.
        • et al.
        Weight concerns and weight control behaviors of adolescents and their mothers.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005; 159: 1121-1126
        • Wertheim E.H.
        • Mee V.
        • Paxton S.J.
        Relationships among adolescent girls' eating behaviors and their parents' weight-related attitudes and behaviors.
        Sex Roles. 1999; 41: 169-187
        • Francis L.A.
        • Birch L.L.
        Maternal influences on daughters' restrained eating behavior.
        Health Psychol. 2005; 24: 548-554
        • Dixon R.S.
        • Gill J.M.
        • Adair V.A.
        Exploring paternal influences on the dieting behaviors of adolescent girls.
        Eat Disord. 2003; 11: 39-50
        • Sanftner J.L.
        • Crowther J.H.
        • Crawford P.A.
        Watts DD Maternal influences (or lack thereof) on daughters' eating attitudes and behaviors.
        Eat Disord J Treat Prev. 1996; 4: 147-159
        • De Lauzon-Guillain B.
        • Romon M.
        • Musher-Eizenman D.
        • et al.
        Cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating: correlations between parent and adolescent.
        Matern Child Nutr. 2009; 5: 171-178
        • Agras W.S.
        • Bryson S.
        • Hammer L.D.
        • Kraemer H.C.
        Childhood risk factors for thin body preoccupation and social pressure to be thin.
        J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007; 46: 171-178
        • Ogden J.
        • Steward J.
        The role of the mother-daughter relationship in explaining weight concern.
        Int J Eat Disord. 2000; 28: 78-83
        • Field A.E.
        • Javaras K.M.
        • Aneja P.
        • et al.
        Family, peer, and media predictors of becoming eating disordered.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008; 162: 574-579
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Wall M.
        • Haines J.
        • et al.
        Shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating in adolescents.
        Am J Prev Med. 2007; 33: 359-369
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Wall M.
        • Story M.
        • Van Den Berg P.
        Accurate parental classification of their overweight adolescents' weight status: Does it matter?.
        Pediatrics. 2008; 121: e1495-e1502
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Flattum C.F.
        • Story M.
        • et al.
        Dietary approaches to healthy weight management for adolescents: The New Moves model.
        Adolesc Med State Art Rev. 2008; 19: 421-430
        • Kuczmarski R.J.
        • Ogden C.L.
        • Grummer-Strawn L.M.
        • et al.
        CDC growth charts: United States.
        Adv Data. 2000; 314: 1-27
        • Krebs N.F.
        • Himes J.H.
        • Jacobson D.
        • et al.
        Assessment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity.
        Pediatrics. 2007; 120: S193-S228
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Wall M.M.
        • Story M.
        • Perry C.L.
        Correlates of unhealthy weight-control behaviors among adolescents: Implications for prevention programs.
        Health Psychol. 2003; 22: 88-98
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Haines J.
        • Robinson-O'Brien R.
        • et al.
        ‘Ready. set. ACTION!’ A theater-based obesity prevention program for children: A feasibility study.
        Health Educ Res. 2009; 24: 407-420
        • Pingitore R.
        • Spring B.
        • Garfield D.
        Gender differences in body satisfaction.
        Obes Res. 1997; 5: 402-409
        • Secord P.F.
        • Jourard S.M.
        The appraisal of body-cathexis: body cathexis and the self.
        J Consult Psychol. 1953; 17: 343-347
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Croll J.
        • Story M.
        • et al.
        Ethnic/racial differences in weight-related concerns and behaviors among adolescent girls and boys: Findings from project EAT.
        J Psychosom Res. 2002; 53: 963-974
        • Yanovski S.Z.
        Binge eating disorder: Current knowledge and future directions.
        Obes Res. 1993; 1: 306-324
        • Webber L.S.
        • Catellier D.J.
        • Lytle L.A.
        • et al.
        Promoting physical activity in middle school girls: Trial of activity for adolescent girls.
        Am J Prev Med. 2008; 34: 173-184
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Story M.
        • Faibisch L.
        Perceived stigmatization among overweight African American and Caucasian adolescent girls.
        J Adolesc Health. 1998; 23: 264-270
        • Van Den Berg P.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • Hannan P.J.
        • Haines J.
        Dieting advice from magazines-helpful or harmful? Five year associations with weight-control behaviors and psychological outcomes in adolescents.
        Pediatrics. 2007; 119: e30-e37