Weight satisfaction and self-esteem among teenagers in Helsinki, Moscow and Tallinn

  • S. Sarlio-Lähteenkorva
  • K. Pärna
  • H. Palosuo
  • I. Zhuravleva
  • H. Mussalo-Rauhamaa
Original Research Paper


Objective: Information on weight satisfaction in Eastern Europe is limited. This study compares relative weight, weight satisfaction and self-esteem of teenagers living in two post-Soviet capitals, Moscow and Tallinn, and a western capital Helsinki. Method: Classroom surveys including data about weight and height, weight satisfaction and selfesteem among 15-18-year-old girls (n=911) and boys (n=650) collected in 1994-95. Results: Body mass index and self-esteem were highest in Helsinki. Nevertheless, feelings of overweight were most common among Tallinn girls and feelings of over- and underweight among Muscovite girls. Boys were mostly satisfied with their current weight with no differences between cities. Low self-esteem was associated with feelings of overweight among girls and underweight among boys. Discussion: Somewhat unexpectedly, girls grown in non-western cultures were more dissatisfied with their weight than girls in Helsinki. These findings may partly be attributable to rapid economic and cultural transformations that were occurring in these countries during the study period.

Key words

Adolescence weight satisfaction Eastern Europe 


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Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Sarlio-Lähteenkorva
    • 1
  • K. Pärna
    • 2
  • H. Palosuo
    • 1
  • I. Zhuravleva
    • 3
  • H. Mussalo-Rauhamaa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthUniversity of HelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthUniversity of TartuEstonia
  3. 3.Institute of SociologyRussian Academy of ScienceMoscowRussia

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