A Study on Perceived Weight, Eating Habits, and Unhealthy Weight Control Behavior in Korean Adolescents

Yu, Nan-Sook

  • Received : 2011.10.23
  • Accepted : 2011.12.12
  • Published : 2011.12.30


This study compared actual weight with perceived weight, described the prevalence of unhealthy weight control behavior, determined the differences in psychological and personal variables between participants that reported unhealthy weight control behavior and those who did not, and examined the relationship of eating habits to unhealthy weight control behavior for Korean adolescents. The study population consisted of a nationally representative sample of middle and high school students who completed the Fifth Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS): Fifth in 2009. Among the 75,066 participants of KYRBWS, 35,473 (n = 18,851 girls and 16,622 boys) were eligible for a research focused on unhealthy weight control behavior. The results of this research were as follows: First, there were considerable discrepancies (45.1% of girls and 32.8% of boys) between the perceived weight and the actual weight. Second, overall, unhealthy weight control behavior was more prevalent in girls and fasting was the most commonly reported behavior. Third, participants that reported unhealthy weight control behavior scored significantly lower on scaled measures of happiness, health, academic achievement, and economic status; in addition, they scored higher on stress measures. Fourth, girls and boys shared common protective factors of having breakfast and vegetables more often, perceiving their weight as underweight rather than overweight, and having a correct weight conception. Protective factors unique to girls were having lunch and dinner more often. Girls and boys shared common risk factors of the consumption of soda, fast food, instant noodles, and snacks more often, while consumption of fruit more often was a risk factor only for girls. The improvement of protective factors and minimization of risk factors through Home Economics classes (and other classes relevant to health) may mitigate unhealthy weight control behavior of adolescents.


unhealthy weight control behavior (UWCB);eating habits;actual weight;perceived weight;Body Mass Index (BMI);adolescent;Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS)


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