Trends in the Association of Poverty with Overweight among US Adolescents

Posted by on December 8, 2006

[posted from PA Nutrition Education Network listserv]

In May?s JAMA an article entitled Trends in the Association of Poverty with Overweight among US Adolescents, 1971-2004 is included. The authors reviewed 4 NHANES surveys to look at the trends among adolescents (ages 12-17) in poverty. The researchers found the following:

* Adolescents (ages 15-17) living below the poverty line have had greater than a 50% higher overall prevalence of overweight as compared to their ?nonpoor? counterparts.
* Sweetened beverage consumption and breakfast skipping are associated with overweight status, but percentage of calories consumed away from home and percentage of calories from snacks eaten between meals are not.
o With increasing age(ages 15-19 vs. 12-14), comes increased consumption of sweetened beverages.
* Adolescents from poor families have about twice the level of physical inactivity compared with adolescents from nonpoor families.
o Girls reported more physical inactivity than boys, but the percentage increase of inactivity was similar for both sexes.

Authors note that the disparity was similar across all demographic subgroups: male, female, non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black. They suggest the results with older adolescents are consistent with the increased opportunities they have to purchase food and to be inactive in their free time.

To read the JAMA abstract:

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