Teenage Weight Predicts Future Weight

Study finds body mass index during adolescence tracks into adulthood

TUESDAY, Dec. 9, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A person's body mass index (BMI) as an adult may be influenced by their BMI during adolescence and the changes in physical activity between adolescence and adulthood, claims a Norwegian study in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The study included 485 people (average age of 15 at the start of the study in 1979) who were tracked for 18 to 20 years. Their height, weight, physical fitness, leisure time physical activity (LTPA), smoking and education were assessed at the start of the study and at follow-up.

The height, weight and education of their parents were also recorded at the start of the study.

"The main findings of this study were that BMI tracks significantly from adolescence into adulthood and that the subjects own BMI during adolescence, father's BMI, and LTPA and smoking in adulthood were strong predictors of adult BMI," the study authors say in a prepared statement.

"Smoking cessation between adolescence and adulthood increased the risk of being overweight as adults, while an increase in LTPA and a high educational level among parents and participants reduced the risk of being overweight as adults," they add.

"The results from this study provide strong rationale for obesity prevention at a young age. Such efforts should include the parents, and promotion of physical activity appears to be a critical component of such prevention efforts," the authors write.

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SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Dec. 8, 2003
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