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An important, new study looks at the relationship between body satisfaction and healthy psychological functioning in overweight adolescents, particularly young women or girls. The research shows that young women who are happy with their size and the shape of their bodies report higher levels of self-esteem and less depression. These young women may also be protected against negative behavioral and psychological factors sometimes associated with being overweight as a result of their positive attitude.
A total of 103 overweight adolescents were surveyed over the course of two years between 2004 and 2006. They were assessed for body satisfaction, weight-control behavior, importance placed on thinness, self-esteem and symptoms of anxiety, anger, stress and depression. There were other factors measured as well.
“We found that girls with high body satisfaction had a lower likelihood of unhealthy weight-control behaviors like fasting, skipping meals or vomiting,” said Kerri Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Boutelle also stated that the positive relationship shown in this study between a girl’s happiness with her body and her behavioral and psychological well-being suggests that improving body satisfaction could be an important part of an intervention strategy for overweight youth. If a girl can learn to love her body, she could improve her mental health.
“A focus on enhancing self-image while providing motivation and skills to engage in effect weight-control behaviors may help protect young girls from feelings of depression, anxiety or anger sometimes association with being overweight,” concluded Boutelle.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Adolescent Health
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