Possible risk factors in the development of eating disorders in overweight pre-adolescent girls.
Burrows A., Cooper M.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate concerns about weight, shape and eating, dietary restraint, self-esteem and symptoms of depression in overweight girls. To investigate the relationship between concerns and self-esteem and depressive symptoms in this group. METHOD: Eighteen overweight girls and 18 average-weight girls completed the child version of the Eating Disorders Examination, the Harter Self-Perception Profile and the Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire. RESULTS: Overweight girls had more concerns about weight, shape and eating and attempted dietary restraint more often. They had more negative self-esteem related to their athletic competence, physical appearance and global self-worth and more symptoms of depression. There was an association between concerns and self-esteem based on physical appearance in the overweight group. CONCLUSION: Overweight girls show some of the psychological features associated with the development of eating disorders, including a link between concerns and self-esteem based on physical appearance. This may help to explain why childhood obesity increases the risk of a later eating disorder.