Encouragement of physical activity for weight loss may lead to negative psychological outcomes among girls

Davison, Kirsten K., Trost, Stewart G., & Birch, Leann L. (2007) Encouragement of physical activity for weight loss may lead to negative psychological outcomes among girls. In Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents, 1 June 2007, Maryland, USA.

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To examine correlates and consequences of parents' encouragement of girls' physical activity (PA) for weight loss (ENCLOSS).


Data were collected for 181 girls, mothers and fathers when girls were 9, 11, and 13 years old. Mothers and fathers completed a self-report questionnaire of ENCLOSS (e.g., “I have talked to my daughter about how to exercise to lose weight”). Correlates of ENCLOSS that were assessed include girls' Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score and parents' modeling of and logistic support for PA. Dependent variables assessed at age 13 include girls' self-reported and objectively-measured PA, enjoyment of physical activity, and weight concerns. Associations between ENCLOSS, girls' BMI, and parent's support for PA were assessed using spearman rank correlations. To examine links between ENCLOSS and the outcome variables, scores for ENCLOSS were divided into tertiles at each age. Three groups were created including girls who were in the highest tertile at each age (high ENCLOSS), girls who were in the lowest tertile at each age (low ENCLOSS), and girls who varied in their tertile ranking (mid ENCLOSS). Group differences in the outcome variables were assessed using regression analysis (referent group: low ENCLOSS), controlling for girls' BMI and the outcome variable at age 9.


Girls' with higher BMI had mothers and fathers who reported higher ENCLOSS (r = .61-. 69, p<. 0001). Parents'reports of ENCLOSS were not associated with modeling of or logistic support for PA. Girls in the high ENCLOSS group reported significantly lower enjoyment of PA and higher weight concerns at age 13, independent of covariates. No differences in PA were noted.


Parents who encourage their daughters to be active for weight loss do not model PA or facilitate girls' PA. Persistent encouragement of PA for weight loss may lead to low enjoyment of PA and higher weight concerns among adolescent girls.

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ID Code: 72585
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: ABstract published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Volume 39(5) Supplement, p S86.
Keywords: Adolescent Girls, Weight Concerns, Weight Loss, Physical actitvity
DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000273246.37514.22
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 04 Jun 2014 23:49
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2014 02:22

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