Determinants of Eating Attitudes among Overweight and Nonoverweight Adolescents

Danielle Symons Downs, Jennifer M. DiNallo, Jennifer S. Savage, Kirsten Krahnstoever Davison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Limited research has examined the determinants of eating attitudes among both adolescent boys and girls. The aims of this study were to examine the extent to which depressive symptoms, body satisfaction, and physical activity (PA) predict eating attitudes in adolescent boys and girls, and to determine the moderating influences of sex and body mass index (BMI). Methods: The participants (N = 646 adolescent boys and girls; mean age 14.28 years; 49% boys) completed self-reported measures of their depressive symptoms, body satisfaction, leisure-time PA, and eating attitudes during their high school health and physical education classes. Results: Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that: (1) BMI, depressive symptoms, body satisfaction, PA, and their interaction terms explained 14% and 17% of the variance in eating attitudes for boys and girls, respectively; (2) BMI moderated the contributions of body satisfaction and PA for predicting eating attitudes such that overweight boys scored lower on body satisfaction and higher on PA than normal-weight boys; and (3) BMI did not moderate the contributions of any of the psychobehavioral constructs for predicting eating attitudes among girls. Conclusions: Our findings illustrate that eating attitudes are determined differently for boys and girls, and the findings demonstrate the need for sex-specific interventions to promote healthy eating attitudes and behaviors during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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