Weight-Based Teasing and Metabolic Syndrome Components among Adolescent Military Dependents at Risk for Adult Obesity

Alexander J. Rice, Natasha A. Schvey*, Lisa M. Shank, M. K.Higgins Neyland, Jason M. Lavender, Senait Solomon, Kathrin Hennigan, Rachel Schindler, Tracy Sbrocco, Sarah Jorgensen, Mark Stephens, Mark Haigney, David A. Klein, Jeffrey Quinlan, Jack A. Yanovski, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Among adults, weight stigma is associated with markers of poor cardiometabolic health. Although weight-based teasing (WBT) is common among youth with high body weight, few studies have examined its associations with cardiometabolic markers. Owing to unique stressors (e.g., parental deployment and frequent moves), military-dependent youth may be at particularly high risk for obesity, WBT, and poor cardiometabolic health. We, therefore, assessed associations between WBT and cardiometabolic health markers among adolescent military dependents presenting for a weight gain prevention trial. Methods: Participants underwent fasting phlebotomy; had fasting weight, height, and waist circumference measured; and completed assessments of WBT, anxiety, and loss-of-control eating. Multivariate analysis of covariance, adjusting for relevant covariates including demographics and body composition, was used to examine differences in metabolic syndrome (MetS) components (waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose) between youth reporting WBT and youth reporting no WBT. Bootstrapped models examined whether WBT mediated the relationship between BMIz and MetS components. Results: Data from 142 youth (57.7% female; 14.4 ± 1.6 years; 51.2% non-Hispanic White, 20.9% non-Hispanic Black; BMIz: 1.9 ± 0.4) were analyzed. WBT was not significantly associated with any MetS component. Relationships were observed between BMIz and all MetS components (except systolic blood pressure and glucose), although WBT did not significantly mediate these relationships (p's > 0.05). Conclusions: This study did not find support for a relationship between WBT and MetS components in adolescent military dependents at risk for adult obesity. Prospective research is needed to determine whether associations between WBT and adverse cardiometabolic outcomes emerge primarily in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • metabolic syndrome
  • military
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • weight-based teasing


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