Factors Associated with Excess Weight in Adolescents
Researchers at the University of Rochester reviewed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to identify patterns that could prevent excess weight in children ages 12 to 16, particularly those with obese parents and those whose parents maintained a healthy weight.
Among other factors, the researchers found eating breakfast every day or some days was "significantly protective against overweight in adolescents with obese parents and proved to be the strongest protector in this group of children." The researchers also reported a connection between parents' weight and their children's weight: More than 83 percent of adolescents whose parents' body mass index was within the healthful range had a healthful BMI themselves. Just 57 percent of adolescents with one or two obese parents had BMIs in the healthful range.
Other factors significantly associated with healthful weight among adolescents included having one or two parents who were not obese; income levels above the poverty line; higher school math and reading scores; participation in exercise programs and less time spent watching television.
Nutrition Education and Weight Loss among Low-Income Mothers
Weight-management programs, especially for low-income women, need to include strong nutrition education components to "alleviate knowledge inequalities and promote more effective weight control," according to researchers at the University of Texas. In a study of 141 overweight or obese women – recruited from schools, Women, Infants and Children clinics and public health clinics – the researchers found "successful weight loss was associated with greater nutrition knowledge."
Eight-week classes for the low-income women emphasized diet, physical activity and behavior modification. The researchers found that, on average, the women who scored highest on nutrition knowledge tests both before and after the classes lost the most amount of weight.
The researchers acknowledge that factors other than nutrition knowledge "may contribute to successful weight reduction in this population," including social support, depression, stress and attitudes toward nutrition and weight loss. Even so, the researchers write: "Information about the Food Guide Pyramid, weight loss, energy nutrients and vitamins/minerals need reinforcement in low-income populations to improve knowledge and promote weight loss."
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The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the official research publication of the American Dietetic Association and is the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of nutrition and dietetics. With nearly 65,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Based in Chicago, ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. Visit ADA at www.eatright.org.
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