Abstract

This study evaluated an intervention program to reduce moderate and extreme weight loss behaviors, disordered eating and low body image. The Body Image and Elating Behavior Intervention Program consisted of five specialized classes addressing media images of women, determinants of body size, healthy and unhealthy weight control methods, and emotional eating. The program was conducted in year 9 in Schools 1 (n = 80) and 2 (n = 27), while students from the same year in School 3 (n = 29) were control subjects. Participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing eating behavior and body image attitudes prior to the program, 1 month after the program and at 12 months follow-up, while control subjects completed the questionnaires at the same time but did not receive the program. Data were analyzed using groups (Schools 1, 2 and 3) by testing occasion (pre, post and follow-up) analyses of variance with repeated measures on testing occasion. Measures of disordered eating and frequency of use of extreme weight loss behaviors were constant over testing occasion and showed no effect of the intervention program. Body dissatisfaction was consistently lower in School 1 but increased across all subjects over the year. The implications of these data for school-based intervention programs in this area are examined.

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