Behaviour, body composition and diet in adolescent girls
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The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between patterns of behaviour, body composition and diet in adolescent girls.
A group of 328 14 to 16-year-old girls at school in Southampton, U.K. completed a questionnaire about their behaviour and lifestyle, and had their heights, weights and skinfold thicknesses measured. Of these girls, 286 also provided dietary information.
Socially independent girls were more likely to smoke, and less likely to eat breakfast and meals with family. They consumed more snacks, chocolate and soft drinks. Girls who were dissatisfied with their weight dieted and exercised, watched less television and spent less of their money on food. Dissatisfaction with weight was strongly related to body mass index. The odds of being a dieter, an indication of dissatisfaction with weight, increased with every unit increase in body mass index, so that girls with a body mass index of 24 kg/m² and over were 19 times more likely to diet than those with a body mass index of 19 kg/m² or less. Girls who were less satisfied with their weight reported lower energy intakes but ate more green vegetables and brown bread than other girls.
The eating habits of the girls were therefore influenced by the extent of their social lives and by their satisfaction with their weight.