BMI Increase From Adolescence to Adulthood Began in 1990s

Females and blacks, especially black females, show a more dramatic pattern of BMI increase

FRIDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- The sharp body mass index (BMI) increase seen in adolescence began in the 1990s and in young adults in 2000, according to a study published online July 12 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Hedwig E. Lee, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined U.S. trends in BMI during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood by gender and race between 1959 and 2002. Data were obtained from four nationally representative surveys: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), National Health Interview Survey, and National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. Age trends in BMI were tracked over time to examine how BMI changed during the transition to adulthood, and whether the patterns of change varied over different periods. Age trends in BMI by gender and race were analyzed to test for significant differences in the trends using NHANES and Add Health.

The investigators identified a sharp increase in BMI in adolescent ages, which began in the 1990s and in young adults around 2000. Female gender and blacks, especially black females, showed a more dramatic age pattern of BMI increase.

"The age pattern of increasing BMI in the adolescent ages beginning in the 1990s and in the young adult ages in 2000 was more dramatic for females and blacks, particularly black females," the authors write.

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