Anthropometric variables, eating habits and diets in adolescents and youth: Sex differences
Keywords:anthropometric variables, eating habits, diet, sex, adolescents and youth
Agencies:Estudio financiado por el Dpto. de Educación, Política Lingüística y Cultura del Gobierno Vasco (IT638-13), y por la Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU (UFI PSIXXI 11/04).
The study aimed to analyze sex differences in anthropometric variables (real, perceived, and desired), eating habits, and the use of diets. Participants were 1,075 adolescents and youth aged 14 to 25 (49.9 % males, 50.1 % females). Using a descriptive and comparative design, three assessment instruments were administered. The results confirm many significant sex differences. In anthropometric variables, girls perceive themselves as more obese than they are and they want to be thinner; boys perceive themselves as thin as or thinner than they are and they want to have greater body volume. Boys want to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), and girls want a lower one. Girls score significantly higher in eating habits, although boys perceive their diet as more balanced. The girls have followed more diets and believe they need them more. In boys, the reasons for weight gain are biological and in girls, due to improper eating habits. Girls follow more diets, both healthy and not recommended. In girls, the reason for starting a diet is body image and in boys, peer acceptance. Boys attribute quitting a diet to the diet itself, and girls attribute it to themselves. The study provides relevant data for the design of prevention and/or treatment programs targeting adolescents/youth with eating problems, either due to alterations in body image, unsuitable eating habits, and/or misuse of diets.