APHA: Majority of Obese Teens Want to Lose Weight

But, engage in behaviors unlikely to help them achieve this goal

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Although the majority of obese, urban adolescents report trying to lose weight, some of their health behaviors are not conducive to losing weight, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C.

Clare Lenhart, M.P.H., from Temple University in Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the extent to which healthful weight modification strategies are employed among obese urban adolescents. A total of 5,944 obese, urban, public high school students were included. A comparison of health behaviors, including smoking in the past 30 days, physical activity during the past week, daily consumption of soda, and hours spent playing video games per day, was carried out for those trying and not trying to lose weight.

The investigators found that 75.7 percent of the obese students reported trying to lose weight, and they were significantly more likely to report recent smoking (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.96). Females, but not males, who were trying to lose weight had a significantly increased risk of daily soda consumption (PR, 2.54), and were significantly more likely to report daily exercise (PR, 1.40). In contrast, males trying to lose weight were significantly more likely to report playing more than three hours video games day (PR, 1.47) and zero days of activity (PR, 3.31).

"The frequency of self-reported weight loss attempts among obese students suggests their interest in weight loss; however, results also reveal reliance on behaviors incompatible with weight loss," the authors write.

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