Robinson, Eric (2018). Self-perceived overweight, weight loss attempts, and weight gain: Evidence from two large, longitudinal cohorts. Health psychology.
vol. 37 (10) pp. 940-947
Objective: Self-identification of overweight is associated with a greater desire to lose weight, but also counterintuitively with increased future weight gain. The present research examined whether weight loss attempts mediate the prospective relation between self-perceived weight status and weight gain across adolescence and young adulthood. Method: Data from 2 longitudinal cohort studies was used. Study 1 tested whether the association between self-perceived weight status and weight gain (from age 10/11– 14/15 years) was mediated by weight loss attempts among Australian adolescents. Study 2 focused on young adults based in the United States and examined whether attempts at weight loss mediated the relation between self-perceived overweight and weight gain from ages 16 to 28 years. Results: In Study 1, self-perceived weight status among adolescents was associated with greater weight gain and weight loss attempts mediated 16% of this relation. In Study 2, young adults who perceived their weight status as overweight gained more weight over time and weight loss attempts mediated 27% of this relation. Conclusions: Adolescents and young adults that identify they are overweight are more likely to gain weight over time and weight loss attempts appear to mediate this effect.