Objective: The objective of the study is to examine the relationship between weight-control behaviors and selfreported sociodemographic characteristics, weight status, and perception of body weight in a large, representative sample of adolescents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories of Palestine. Method: Self-report measures of sociodemographic characteristics, body weight perception, height and weight, and weight-control behaviors were completed by 8,885 male and female students aged 12-18 years from 405 randomly selected schools as part of the 2003/2004 Palestinian Health Behavior in School-aged Children Study (HBSC). Results: In both genders, dieting to lose weight was common among adolescents and significantly higher among overweight than among underweight or normal weight adolescents. Extreme weight-control behaviors (vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives) and smoking were more common among boys than girls, and extreme weight-control behaviors were particularly common among underweight boys. Older adolescents were less likely than younger adolescents to engage in weight-control behaviors. Perception of body weight as too fat was an influential factor in following an unhealthy diet to lose weight. Discussion: Practices to control weight, particularly extreme and unhealthy weight-control behaviors, are common among adolescents in the Palestinian territories. These findings suggest the need to design appropriate prevention and early intervention programs for adolescents in Palestine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health