The article titled “Association between Weight, Weight Perception, Weight Teasing and Mental Health among Adolescents” authored by Wenxin Gu, Xiaoyan Yu, Yinliang Tan, Zhiping Yu, and Jingfen Zhu, investigates the impact of actual weight, perceived weight, and weight teasing on the mental health of adolescents. Focused on a sample of 10,070 adolescents from Shanghai, China, the study uses logistic regression analysis to explore how these weight-related factors correlate with mental health issues such as depressive symptoms, anxiety, and loneliness.

Study Background and Objectives

The prevalence of mental health issues among adolescents has seen a concerning rise, with conditions like depression and anxiety becoming particularly prominent. In light of this, the study aims to understand how adolescents’ perceptions of their weight, along with actual body weight and experiences of being teased about weight, affect their mental health. This understanding is critical given that adolescence is a period marked by significant physical changes which can intensify self-consciousness about body image.


The study employs a stratified random cluster sampling method to select participants from various schools in Shanghai. Adolescents filled out self-reported questionnaires that assessed not only their actual weight (via BMI categorizations of underweight, normal, and overweight/obese) but also their personal perceptions of their weight and their experiences of weight teasing.

Key Findings

The analysis reveals several important insights:

Actual Weight vs. Perception and Teasing:

Actual weight does not have a harmful impact on mental health when adjusting for weight perception and teasing. Instead, how adolescents perceive their weight and the teasing they endure about their weight significantly influence their mental health outcomes.

Perception of Being Overweight:

Adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight are at increased risk for depressive symptoms, anxiety, and loneliness. This risk is even more pronounced when they perceive themselves as underweight.

Weight Teasing:

Experiencing weight teasing more than once a year has a marked detrimental effect on mental health, exacerbating feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The negative impact is particularly severe among adolescents who already struggle with overweight or obesity.


The study’s findings emphasize the profound influence of weight perception and teasing on adolescent mental health, overshadowing the impact of actual weight. This highlights a critical area for intervention—addressing how adolescents perceive their bodies and reducing teasing—to potentially alleviate mental health issues in this demographic.


In conclusion, this study by Gu et al. underscores the need for interventions that not only foster a healthy body image among adolescents but also actively combat weight teasing in school and social settings. By shifting focus from actual weight to how weight is perceived and discussed among peers, there is a promising avenue for improving mental health outcomes among adolescents. This research adds to the growing body of literature that links body image with mental health in the critical developmental stage of adolescence, suggesting a targeted approach for future health education and psychological support programs.


Gu, W., Yu, X., Tan, Y., Yu, Z., & Zhu, J. (2024). Association between weight, weight perception, weight teasing and mental health among adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 18, 1-13. doi: