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Epidemiology and policy
P1-78 Body image dissatisfaction at early adolescence and changes in adiposity through adolescence
  1. J Araujo1,2,
  2. C Lopes1,2,
  3. E Ramos1,2
  1. 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Cardiovascular Research & Development Unit, University of Porto Medical School, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2Institute of Public Health, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal


Objective To prospectively study the effect of body dissatisfaction on changes in adiposity during adolescence.

Methods We studied 1490 Portuguese adolescents evaluated at 13 and 17 years, under a population-based cohort (EPITeen). Body dissatisfaction was defined as the difference between perceived and desired body image, assessed by Stunkard figures at 13 y. BMI z-scores were computed based on CDC percentiles and body fat percentage (BF%) was assessed using bioelectric impedance. The association between body dissatisfaction and changes in adiposity was computed using linear regression models [regression coefficients (β) and (95%CI)] and adjusted for adiposity measures at 13 y.

Results At age 13 y, 39% of females desired a thinner image and 16% desired a larger image. Among males the proportions were 34% and 33%, respectively. In crude analysis, compared with adolescents who did not have body dissatisfaction, BMI z-scores significantly decreased among adolescents that desired a thinner image [β=−0.152 (−0.224; −0.080) in females and β=−0.206 (−0.296; −0.117) in males]. The opposite association was found among those who desired a larger image [β=0.176 (0.081; 0.272) in females and β=0.113 (0.023; 0.203) in males]. Similar results were found with BF%. However, after adjustment for adiposity measures at 13 y, these associations lose significance.

Conclusion We found an association between body image at 13 y and changes in adiposity. The desire of a thinner image was associated with a decrease in adiposity and the desired of a large image associated with an increase. However, the associations were dependent on anthropometric measures at age 13.

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