Teens and Misperceptions About Weight

Insights from a recent Ball State University study
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Nearly a fourth of American teenagers misjudge their weight, and they often avoid a healthy diet and physical activity based on weight misperceptions, according to a recent study from Ball State University.

In a study of about 12,000 teens ages 15-17, 22.9 percent misperceived their weight, with about half that number (11.6 percent) believing they are overweight when they are not, and the others (11.3 percent) believing they are at a healthy weight when they are actually overweight. 

These students are significantly more likely to have unhealthy dietary habits and engage in a sedentary lifestyle. The study also found:

• Almost a third (31.8 percent) of adolescents were overweight and/or obese.

• Boys and girls who believed they were overweight but were not truly overweight were less likely to drink fruit juice or milk, eat fruits or consume breakfast regularly.

• Physical activity behaviors also varied with weight perception. For example, both boys and girls who were truly overweight or only believed they were, had the lowest odds of engaging in physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day, five days a week.

• Females were more likely to have misperceptions about their weight than males.

Learn more here.


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