OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of weight-based teasing, and evaluate its association with depression, anxiety and unhealthy eating behaviour in a large sample of adolescents in the Ottawa (Ontario) area. METHODS: A total of 1491 adolescents from public and private middle schools and high schools in rural and urban areas of Ottawa responded confidentially to surveys. RESULTS: More girls than boys reported that they experienced weight-based teasing (33% versus 18%). The prevalence of weight-based teasing by peers was significantly higher among overweight and obese youth than among normal weight youth (45% versus 22%). Teasing about body weight was consistently associated with anxiety, psychological distress and disordered eating, and these associations held for both boys and girls, and were independent of weight status. CONCLUSIONS: Weight-based teasing is a common experience among Ottawa-area adolescents, especially among overweight girls, and was found to be associated with psychological morbidity. Effective interventions are needed to help victims cope with and prevent further weight-based teasing and its harmful psychological sequelae.

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Paediatrics and Child Health
Department of Psychology

Goldfield, G. (Gary), Moore, C. (Ceri), Henderson, K, Buchholz, A. (Annick), Obeid, N. (Nicole), & Flament, M. (Martine). (2010). The relation between weight-based teasing and psychological adjustment in adolescents. Paediatrics and Child Health, 15(5), 283–288. doi:10.1093/pch/15.5.283