A study released yesterday attempts to answer that important question, dividing adolescent girls into groups like “Jocks,” “Burnouts,” and “Alternatives,” and discovering that their peer groups are the most important deciding factor. From the press release:
The central theme of the study is that peer groups of teenage girls best determine their attitude towards their bodies, dieting and exercise. Some points to note are that athletic teens (part of the jock peer group) had the most healthy attitude, while those who were not part of any group had the most negative attitude and were the most likely to diet or over exercise.
Here’s a more sciency excerpt:
[G]irls identifying with athletic peers (‘Jocks’) were less concerned about their own weight and seemed less likely to be trying to control their weight. Girls identifying with non–conformist peers (‘Alternatives’) were more concerned about their weight and appearance and more likely to be actively trying to lose weight. The girls who identified with those who skip school and often get into trouble (‘Burnouts’) believed their peers valued thinness and dieting. Finally, girls who did not belong to any particular peer group were the most likely to use slimming strategies.
It’s kind of ironic that the non-conformists turned out to be more obsessed with weight than the other groups. So what were you: a Jock? A Burnout? An Alternative? A Vampire Groupie? (Yes, I have been reading the Twilight series. No, that’s not a real peer group. Sadly.) Do you think your peer group had any effect on your attitude towards your weight?
I personally was a Nerd, not brave enough to play sports, and all my pressure came from home and from my own brain. My peer group never pressured me, as far as I can remember. Of course I’m speaking of high school: in junior high, I simply didn’t have any friends. What about you? What about your daughters?
Posted by mo pie