Aim: To explore secular trends of adolescent weight control concerns and behaviours, between 2007 and 2012, and determine if these vary by body size.
Methods: Data were drawn from two nationally representative youth health surveys, Youth’07 and Youth’12. Multiple logistic regression models were used to determine differences in the prevalence of weight control behaviours and concerns between the two time points, controlling for socio-demographic variables.
Results: Between 2007 and 2012, both boys and girls were significantly more likely to report concerns about their weight, though the prevalence of trying to lose weight increased for boys, but not girls. Trends in weight control behaviours varied by body size for boys and girls. Perhaps the most striking findings were the increases in proportions of underweight girls and healthy weight boys who were trying to lose weight.
Conclusions: The current study highlights the growing concerns that young people are experiencing in relation to weight control. Given the persistently high rates of adolescent obesity in New Zealand and globally, greater support for young people with regards to healthy eating and weight management is warranted.