Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 169–176 | Cite as

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

  • Emily L. SchiefelbeinEmail author
  • Gita G. Mirchandani
  • Goldy C. George
  • Emilie A. Becker
  • Brian C. Castrucci
  • Deanna M. Hoelscher


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.


Adolescent Body weight Weight perception Overweight Obesity Depression 



The School Physical Activity and Nutrition study was federally funded by the Title V block grant through the Texas Department of State Health Services. This study was supported in part by an appointment to the Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program administered by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement #5U38HM000414.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily L. Schiefelbein
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gita G. Mirchandani
    • 2
  • Goldy C. George
    • 3
  • Emilie A. Becker
    • 4
  • Brian C. Castrucci
    • 5
  • Deanna M. Hoelscher
    • 6
  1. 1.CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program, Division of Family and Community Health ServicesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention/Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Texas Department of State Health ServicesAustinUSA
  2. 2.Division of Family and Community Health ServicesTexas Department of State Health ServicesAustinUSA
  3. 3.Formerly National Cancer Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Michael and Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy LivingUniversity of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Division of Mental Health and Substance AbuseTexas Department of State Health ServicesAustinUSA
  5. 5.Maternal and Child Health ProgramGeorgia Department of Public HealthAustinUSA
  6. 6.Michael and Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy LivingUniversity of Texas School of Public Health - Austin Regional CampusAustinUSA

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