A new study suggests that teens who falsely believe they are fat are more likely to become obese when they are adults.
These teens are more likely to use diet pills and engage in unhealthy weight control practices, which lead to obesity.
The study is due to be published in the journal Psychological Science.
The results of the study showed that the adolescents whose perception of themselves as being overweight was inaccurate had a 40% increased risk of obesity in adulthood, when compared with peers whose perception of their weight was accurate.
Researchers theorized that teens who have a misperception of themselves as being overweight may not have self regulating characteristics, which allow for healthy weight control.
A surprising result was that boys had an 89% increased risk of becoming obese in adulthood. “It may be that girls are more attentive to their weight and may intervene earlier when they experience any weight gain,” said study author Angelina Sutin. ” As such, the self-fulfilling prophecy may be stronger for boys than for girls. Physicians and other health care providers may also notice weight gain sooner for girls than for boys, or may be more likely to address any weight gain with girls than with boys. We were unable, however, to test exactly why there is this difference across the sexes.”