Factors promoting and inhibiting dieting among adolescents and young adults


Manturuk, Kim (2008). Factors promoting and inhibiting dieting among adolescents and young adults. 2008 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Why do teenage girls diet? This is a far more complex question than it initially seems. Even the most obvious answer, to lose weight, is not always correct. Adolescent dieting is not solely about managing weight; it is a gendered social behavior that is associated with social status, peer esteem, and ego gratification among young women. In this paper, I examine dieting among adolescent girls and young adults using data collected from the In-School and In-Home Add Health surveys, Waves I and III. I present a theoretical framework for understanding dieting and status that takes into account context specific influences. From this framework, I present a series of models predicting dieting as an outcome related to school environment, sports participation, academic achievement, and female physical development during adolescence. I find that dieting is less common among adolescent girls who participate in sports, but more common among girls who have higher academic achievement. I also find that young women in college are more likely to diet than either college graduates or women who did not attend college. I discuss implications of these findings are directions for further research on the relationship between dieting and pathways to status within the school environment.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2008 Add Health Users Conference


Manturuk, Kim

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID