The role of weight status, gender and self-esteem in following a diet among middle-school children in Sicily (Italy)

Ferrante, Margherita; Fiore, Maria; Sciacca, Gina E; Leon, Luca; Sciacca, Salvatore; Castaing, Marine; Modonutti, Gianbattista
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p241
Academic Journal
Background: Weight-related issues such as obesity, dieting and eating disorders in adolescents are major public health problems. Moreover, undertaking a diet tends to be common among school children and the reasons for doing so are not always related to weight status. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the role of body mass index (BMI), gender and self-esteem in the adoption of a diet in middle-school Sicilian children. Methods: The survey included middle-school children in some Sicilian provinces. Weight status was determined by sex-specific body mass index for age according to the international BMI cut-off proposed by Cole. Classic chi-square test and linear trend chi-square were used to compare percentages. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were computed to study the risk of dieting according to weight status (with the underweight group as the reference group), gender, self-esteem adjusted for province. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) along with associated p-values were furnished. Results: The survey showed that 45.2% of the children were of average-weight, 6.6% were underweight, 12.6% were overweight and 2.9% were clinically obese. The missing data were up to 32.8%. Regarding dieting, 26.3% of the children stated that they had been on a diet during the last three months, 56.4% claimed they had not, and 17.2% did not answer. Age was not associated with dieting (p = 0.76). More girls than boys had undertaken a diet (31.4% versus 21.4%, p < 0.0001). Self-esteem had an influence on the choice of following a diet; in fact, 40.8%, 28.5% and 20.9% of the children with negative, normal and positive self-esteem were following a diet (trend p < 0.0001). The multivariate analysis showed that self-esteem seemed to influence more girls than boys (p = 0.06), and stratified analysis by gender indicated that it seemed more influent in girls (p = 0.0008) than in boys (p = 0.01). Conclusions: In addition to the relation between dieting and BMI, our results highlight the link between dieting, gender and self-esteem. We underline the importance of interventions within the context of health education in order to improve global self-esteem and to encourage proper eating habits to prevent weight-related health problems.


Related Articles

  • Sex Differences in the Nature, Realism, and Correlates of Body Image. Mintz, Laurie B.; Betz, Nancy E. // Sex Roles;Aug86, Vol. 15 Issue 3-4, p185 

    The present study examined sex differences in the nature and realism of body-image satisfaction, and the extent to which sex and sex role ideology moderated the relationships of body image to other indices of self-esteem and well-being. Accordingly, scales assessing body cathexis, self-esteem,...

  • Separating the Effects of Gender and Weight-Loss Desire on Body Satisfaction and Disordered Eating Behavior. Kashubeck-West, Susan; Mintz, Laurie B.; Weigold, Ingrid // Sex Roles;Oct2005, Vol. 53 Issue 7-8, p505 

    The purpose of this study was to separate the effects of gender from those of desired weight loss on body satisfaction and eating disordered behavior. Therefore, we explored gender differences in a sample ( N = 191) of men and women who wanted to lose weight. We expected that controlling for...

  • Connection Between Weight and Self-Esteem Linked to Teen's Race and Gender.  // USA Today Magazine;Aug2007, Vol. 136 Issue 2747, p11 

    The article discusses research from the University of North Carolina, which states that race and gender among young teenagers affect whether self-esteem is linked to body weight. Eliana Miller Perrin, assistant professor of pediatrics, claims that for many teenagers, how they feel about their...

  • Association of body weight and gender with self-esteem in schoolchildren. Survey of Ioannina, Epirus, Greece. The Children study. Angelopoulos, Peter; Tsitsas, George; Milionis, Haralambos; Grammatikaki, Evangelia; Vlachaki, Chrisanthy; Bouloubasi, Zoi; Manios, Yannis // Annals of General Psychiatry;2008 Supplement 1, Vol. 7, Special section p1 

    Background There is variation in the psychological distress associated with child body weight. Low self-esteem, when observed, provides very little information about the nature of the distress and no indication of the proportion of children with high body weight affected [1-4]. There is a...

  • Who is Beholding my Beauty? Thinness Ideals, Weight, and Women's Responses to Appearance Evaluation. Darlow, Susan; Lobel, Marci // Sex Roles;Dec2010, Vol. 63 Issue 11-12, p833 

    Having one's physical appearance scrutinized is a common experience for women. We examined 274 Northeastern American undergraduate women's responses to having their appearance evaluated 1) by themselves or by another student, and 2) in comparison to the appearance of female peers or without...

  • Are you ready to lose weight?  // Shape;May2003, Vol. 22 Issue 9, p94 

    Focuses on factors that prevent women from losing weight.

  • from the editor. Joye, Paula // Cleo;Mar2004, Issue 377, p18 

    Presents an article on the challenges facing mothers in losing weight after giving birth. Outlook of women on wearing jeans; Role of genetics in the body weight of a person; Impact of weight on self-esteem of mothers.

  • DO LOVE WHO YOU ARE.  // Glamour;Apr2003, Vol. 101 Issue 4, p70 

    Presents a quotation from Broadway and television actress Nell Carter on her weight and self-esteem.

  • 7 great habits of INTUITIVE EATERS.  // Good Health (Australia Edition);Sep2014, p74 

    The article presents information on avoiding emotional eating. It refers to studies which say that intuitive eating helps in getting and retaining a healthy body weight, and intuitive eaters have higher self-esteem in comparison to dieters. It suggests to eat when the body needs fuel, and to...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics