Young women who may be obese but are happy with their size or shape show greater levels of self-possession, which offsets any ridicule they are likely to face.
The study led by Kerri Boutelle, associate professor of psychiatry and paediatrics, University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, surveyed a group of 103 overweight adolescents between 2004 and 2006.
Researchers assessed body satisfaction, weight-control behaviour, importance placed on thinness, self-esteem and symptoms of anxiety and depression, among other factors, the the Journal of Adolescent Health reports.
“We found that girls with high body satisfaction had a lower likelihood of unhealthy weight-control behaviours like fasting, skipping meals or vomiting,” said Boutelle, according to a California-San Diego statement.
Boutelle said the positive relationship shown in this study between a girl’s happiness with her body and her behavioural and psychological well-being suggests that improving body satisfaction could be a key component of interventions for overweight youth.
“A focus on enhancing self-image while providing motivation and skills to engage in effect weight-control behaviours may help protect young girls from feelings of depression, anxiety or anger sometimes association with being overweight,” said Boutell