, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 169-176
Date: 17 Dec 2010

Association Between Depressed Mood and Perceived Weight in Middle and High School Age Students: Texas 2004–2005

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Research exploring the relationship between weight perception and depressed mood among adolescents is limited in the United States. The purpose of this study is to examine the association of perceived versus actual body weight and depressed mood in a representative sample of 8th and 11th grade public school students in Texas. Using data from the 2004–2005 School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) study, logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association of weight perception with depressed mood. Healthy weight students who perceived themselves to be a healthy weight were the reference group for all analyses. A high prevalence of misperception of body weight was observed. Overweight and obese 8th grade girls and boys who perceived themselves to be overweight had increased odds of depressed mood [Girls: OR 1.70 (95% CI: 1.07–2.69), Boys: OR 2.05 (95% CI: 1.16–3.62)]. Healthy weight 8th grade girls who perceived themselves to be overweight had 2.5 times greater odds of depressed mood (OR 2.63, 95% CI: 1.54–4.50). Healthy weight boys who perceived themselves to be underweight had more than twice the odds (OR 2.18, 95% CI: 1.23–3.89) of depressed mood. No weight category was significantly associated with depressed mood in boys or girls in 11th grade. The present study suggests that weight misperceptions are associated with depressed mood in young adolescents. Education about healthy body size is necessary to correct the common weight misperceptions observed. The high prevalence rates of depressed mood suggest a greater need for research into understanding factors that may contribute to depressed mood in adolescents.