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Weight Control Behaviors Persist into Adulthood

Int J Eat Disord; ePub 2018 Oct 24; Haynos, et al

Weight control behaviors continue to be prevalent in adulthood, and to especially increase among men, according to a recent study. These results suggest that interventions to decrease unhealthy weight management practices may be needed well into adulthood. Researchers examined patterns of weight control behaviors beyond young adulthood using data from 1,455 males and females participating in Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults), a 15‐year population‐based, longitudinal study. Participants completed surveys assessing dieting, high‐frequency dieting (ie, 5+ times/year), unhealthy weight control (eg, fasting), and extreme weight control (eg, vomiting) at each 5‐year assessment (Waves 1–4). They found:

  • Between Waves 3 and 4 in adulthood, dieting increased for both genders and high‐frequency dieting and unhealthy weight control behaviors increased for men.
  • For both genders, dieting and unhealthy weight control patterns initiated in prior to young adulthood were more likely to persist than cease in adulthood.


Haynos AF, Wall MM, Chen C, Wang SB, Loth K, Neumark-Sztainer D. Patterns of weight control behavior persisting beyond young adulthood: Results from a 15‐year longitudinal study. [Published online ahead of print October 24, 2018]. Int J Eat Disord. doi:10.1002/eat.22963.