is a critical period for healthy growth and development, including the
formation of lifestyle behaviors. The high prevalence of obesity among
adolescents and young adults and its health consequences have made obesity
prevention efforts a public health priority. Furthermore, cultural beliefs and beauty
ideals are changing, especially in China, and many young people are concerned
about their body shape and size due to social pressures to conform to a thin ideal
on these changes, the media and the perception of his/ her weight may exacerbate
the weight misperception (6).W1
misperception may be broadly divided into under-estimating or over-estimating one’s
weight. A considerable
body of research W2 literature suggests that body dissatisfaction is
a common concern for adolescents and young adults from Western countries (7, 8),
and some reports suggest that adolescents’ weight misperception is increasing (9-12).
Among non-overweight and overweight adolescents, both overestimation and
underestimation of weight status are associated with adverse outcomes such as
depressive symptoms and other psychological problems (13-15),
and subsequently may influence weight management behaviors (16, 17).
In particular, non-overweight adolescents who overestimate their body size may
experience body dissatisfaction, leading to greater risk for disordered eating
and eating disorders (18).
Conversely, overweight adolescents who underestimate their body size may be
less motivated to reduce body fat, thus increasing chronic disease risk (19).