The relationship between how you feel about your body and your chances of gaining weight are complex. But researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found that teenagers who are at a reasonable weight yet perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be overweight.
“Perceiving themselves as fat even though they are not may actually cause normal weight children to become overweight as adults,” says Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The data in the study showed that 78 percent of the girls who felt fat as teens became overweight as adults as measured by their waistlines. Only 55 percent of the girls who were satisfied with their weight as adolescents eventually became overweight (which is still a large proportion of the females).
“The weight norms for society must be changed so that young people have a more realistic view of what is normal. In school you should talk to kids about what are normal body shapes, and show that all bodies are beautiful as they are. And, last but not least: The media must cease to emphasize the super model body as the perfect ideal, because it is not,” says Cuypers.