To investigate whether body dissatisfaction at prepuberty is associated with preceding changes in relative weight since infancy.
A longitudinal cohort study. Follow-up of weight and height from age 7 months to 8 years; evaluation of body dissatisfaction at age 8 years.
Setting and Participants
The subjects were 205 girls and 230 boys participating in a prospective randomized atherosclerosis prevention trial in Finland.
Main Outcome Measures
A pictorial instrument was used in measuring estimated current and desired body sizes. A difference between the 2 indicated body dissatisfaction.
Children, particularly girls, who wished to be thinner at age 8 years had, on average, a more rapid increase in relative weight between ages 3 and 8 years compared with other children. Slopes of the average trends of change in weight differed significantly between the children wishing to be thinner, those who were satisfied with their size, and those who wished to look heavier (P = .002 in girls; P = .02 in boys).
Body dissatisfaction at prepuberty may reflect changes in weight during the preceding several years.