Relationships Between Body Size Satisfaction and Weight Control Practices Among US Adults

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Medscape Journal of Medicine




Context: Few studies of US adults have specifically examined body size satisfaction

Objectives: Describe correlates of body size satisfaction and examine whether satisfaction was associated with trying to lose weight or specific weight control practices among US adults using a national sample of women and men.

Design, Setting and Participants: The National Physical Activity and Weight Loss Survey (NPAWLS) was a population-based, cross-sectional telephone survey of US adults (n = 9740).

Main Outcome Measures: Participants reported their weight, height, body size satisfaction, and weight loss practices. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for each dependent variable.

Results: Among women and men, higher body mass index (BMI) was significantly associated with body size dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction, compared with being very satisfied, was positively associated with trying to lose weight among women and men. This association was modified by BMI for women (OR normal weight = 19.69, overweight = 8.79, obese = 4.05; P < .01 for interaction) but not men (OR normal weight = 8.72, overweight = 10.50, obese = 7.86; P = 0.93 for interaction). Compared with women who were very satisfied, dissatisfied women used diet more (OR = 2.03), but not physical activity/exercise (OR = 0.55) or both strategies (OR = 0.63), to try to lose weight. Men who were somewhat satisfied, compared with those who were very satisfied, were more likely to use physical activity/exercise (OR = 1.64) and both diet and physical activity/exercise (OR = 1.54) to try to lose weight.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the sex differences in body size satisfaction, actions taken to try to lose weight, and the importance of considering body size satisfaction when designing weight-management programs.