The objective was to verify the association between body dissatisfaction (BD) – constituted by the desire to lose weight – with family and personal aspects related to the shape of the body and weight control practices in female adolescents. A cross-sectional, observational epidemiological study with adolescents aged 12–19 years, enrolled in classes of the 8th and 9th years of public schools belonging to the urban area of the city of Caxias do Sul/Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, was conducted. A self-applicable questionnaire was used. BD was assessed using a silhouette scale. Multivariate regression was performed using Poisson regression with robust variation, hierarchically using a pre-established conceptual model, using the prevalence ratio (PR) adjusted with 95 % CI as a measure of effect. A significance level of 5 % (P ≤ 0·05) was considered. Among the 685 female students, 77·2 % had BD. The father’s incentive to diet sometimes (PR 1·19; 95 % CI 1·07, 1·32; P ≤ 0·001) and always (PR 1·15; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·28; P ≤ 0·001), trying to lose weight (PR 1·63; 95 % CI 1·33, 1·99; P ≤ 0·001), dieting five times or more (PR 1·22; 95 % CI 1·09, 1·36; P ≤ 0·001) and skipping meals less than once a week (PR 1·16; 95 % CI 1·04, 1·29; P = 0·026) increased the chances of having BD. In conclusion, among the investigated parents’ behaviours, only the father’s incentive to go on a diet was associated with BD. Adolescent weight control practices increased the chances of having BD. Thus, it facilitates the identification of this condition at an early stage, enabling adequate treatment and prevention of health complications.