Physically active teens less likely to become overweight as young adults

Jan 07, 2008

Participating in school-based physical education and certain extracurricular physical activities during adolescence may be associated with a lower risk of being overweight as a young adult, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

About 16 percent of U.S. teens are overweight or obese, according to background information in the article. Eighty-five percent of obese adolescents become obese adults. “In the pediatric population, adolescent overweight is the best predictor of adulthood overweight; however, to date, no single intervention in adolescence has proved to be effective in reducing the transition to adult overweight,” the authors write.

David Menschik, M.D., M.P.H., then at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and now at the Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md., and colleagues studied 3,345 teens in grades eight through 12 who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In 1996, participants took an in-home survey, reporting on how often they participated in physical activities both at school and outside of school. They then reported their height and weight five years later, in 2001 or 2002.

“Increasing participation in certain extracurricular physical activities and physical education decreased the likelihood of young adulthood overweight,” the authors write. “Regarding extracurricular physical activities, the likelihood of being an overweight adult was reduced most (i.e. 48 percent) by performing certain wheel-related activities (i.e. rollerblading, roller skating, skateboarding or bicycling) more than four times per week.”

For every weekday that teens participated in physical education at school, their risk of being overweight as young adults was reduced by 5 percent. Those who had physical education five days per week had 28 percent lower odds of being overweight as young adults.

In general, the effects of physical activity were stronger for teens who began as normal weight than those who were overweight, suggesting that exercise is more effective for maintaining a normal weight than encouraging weight loss. “Accordingly, a greater emphasis on prevention, rather than intervention, may be well warranted in approaching the obesity epidemic,” the authors write.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Sexual assault circumstances differ for military men, women

Related Stories

FAA's Airworthiness Directive issued to avoid power loss

May 02, 2015

A fix for a software problem that could possibly result in power loss in Boeing 787s has been ordered. Federal Aviation Administration officials adopted a new airworthiness directive (AD), effective as of ...

Recommended for you

Sexual assault circumstances differ for military men, women

May 01, 2015

As the military struggles to combat sexual assault, surveys are uncovering stark differences between the attacks against active-duty female service members and those against active-duty men. The differences are forcing defense ...

The ER docs said 'stop smoking,' and they did

May 01, 2015

An intervention in the emergency department designed to encourage tobacco cessation in smokers appears to be effective. Two and a half times more patients in the intervention group were tobacco-free three months after receiving ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.