Background. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of weight-control behaviors and their associations with overall dietary intake among adults and adolescents. Methods. Participants included 3,832 adults and 459 adolescents from four regions of the United States. Cross-sectional data were collected on energy and nutrient intake, weight-control behaviors, body mass index (BMI), and sociodemographics. Results. Current weight-control behaviors were reported by 52.7% of the study population (adult women, 56.7%; adult men, 50.3%; adolescent girls, 44.0%; adolescent boys, 36.8%). Weight-control behaviors were consistently and positively associated with socioeconomic status among adults, but not among adolescents. Among 'dieters,' unhealthy practices were reported by 22.7% of adult women, 21.3% of adult men, 30.4% of adolescent girls, and 18.5% of adolescent boys. Adults trying to control their weight reported healthier nutrient intakes than those not trying to control their weight, in particular when moderate weight-control methods were employed. Among adolescents, there were fewer differences across dieting status and these were not suggestive of healthier intakes among dieters than nondieters. Conclusions. Weight-control behaviors are reported by a large percentage of the population. Weight-control behaviors tend to be healthier among adults than among adolescents, in terms of the types of behaviors used and their impact on nutrient intakes. Obesity prevention interventions should emphasize the importance of using healthy weight-control practices. (C)2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.
- Weight control
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