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Obese Teen Girls Less Likely to Use Contraception

No difference in frequency of sex according to weight status among 18- to 19-year-old girls

WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is associated with less frequent and less consistent contraceptive use among sexually active 18- to 19-year-old girls, according to research published online July 1 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study of data for 18- to 19-year-old women to examine the association between weight status and specific sexual behaviors. Participants recorded sexual practices, including contraceptive use, in a weekly journal.

The researchers found that the proportion of weeks in which the adolescent girls reported sexual intercourse averaged 52 percent, with no difference according to weight status. Among weeks in which sexual activity was reported, the proportion of weeks with any contraceptive use was significantly lower for obese adolescent girls (84 percent) compared with normal-weight adolescent girls (91 percent). Among weeks in which sexual activity and contraceptive use were reported, the proportion of weeks with consistent contraceptive use was significantly lower for obese adolescent girls (68 percent) than for normal-weight adolescent girls (78 percent); the same pattern was observed for oral contraceptive pill use (27 versus 45 percent).

"In this longitudinal study, obese adolescent women were less likely to use contraception, and less likely to use it consistently when compared with normal-weight peers," the authors write. "Findings suggest obesity may be an important factor associated with adolescent women's sexual behavior."

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