Objectives: To learn more about how overweight is associated with emotional well-being in adolescents and examine change in associations over time. Methods: A prospective study was conducted with a sample of 2,516 adolescents who participated in Project EAT-I (1999) and Project EAT-II (2004). Results: At baseline, overweight participants had lower body satisfaction and decreased self-esteem as compared to normal weight participants. Additionally, an association was found between overweight and depressive symptoms among males during middle adolescence. Longitudinal findings suggest that the adverse impact of overweight on emotional well-being persists into young adulthood, including a marked increase in depressive mood among overweight males between early and middle adolescence. Conclusions: The persistent nature of the association between overweight and emotional well-being suggests that the normal developmental process of adolescence will not "take care" of this association. Instead, clinicians should regularly screen overweight adolescents for markers of poor emotional well-being and consider intervention when appropriate.
- longitudinal research