Kerri Boutelle, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said the study involved 103 overweight adolescents surveyed between 2004 and 2006. The girls were assessed for body satisfaction, weight-control behavior, importance placed on thinness, self-esteem, and symptoms of anxiety and depression, among other factors.
"We found that girls with high body satisfaction had a lower likelihood of unhealthy weight-control behaviors like fasting, skipping meals or vomiting," Boutelle said in a statement.
Boutelle added that the positive relationship shown in this study between a girl's happiness with her body and her behavioral and psychological well-being suggested that improving body satisfaction could be a key component of interventions for overweight youth.
The study, scheduled to be published in the June edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health, found overweight teens who were satisfied with their bodies are less depressed and less prone to unhealthy behaviors than girls unhappy with their bodies.
"A focus on enhancing self-image while providing motivation and skills to engage in [effective] weight-control behaviors may help protect young girls from feelings of depression, anxiety or anger sometimes [associated] with being overweight," Boutelle added.