New research suggests that obese adolescents want to shed pounds, but smoking, non-diet soda, and video games are getting in their way
PROBLEM: The health risks associated with adolescent obesity is well documented. Little is known, however, about adolescents' diet strategies and day-to-day habits. In other words, do teens know how to lose weight?
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METHODOLOGY: Research led by Temple University public health doctoral candidate Clare Lenhart analyzed the Philadelphia Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, which boasts nearly 44,000 adolescent respondents. The investigators organized the data into different types of health-related behaviors, including recent smoking, daily soda consumption, hours per day playing video games, and amount of weekly physical activity.
RESULTS: While about 75 percent of the surveyed obese teens reported trying to lose weight, this group was also more likely to report smoking. Girls who were trying to lose weight were more likely to report participating in more than an hour's worth of physical activity per day, but data showed that they were also prone to consume non-diet soda on a regular basis. Guys who wanted to lose weight tended to report spending no time engaging in physical activity but more than three hours a day playing video games.