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Georgia Southern reports on weight loss trends in overweight adolescents.

Daneisha R. Hawkins, MPH

When more than a third of adolescents are overweight or obese, it may be cognitively hard for the general public to view overweight as abnormal. According to CDC, more than 70 percent of Americans age 20 and over are currently classified as overweight or obese and society is now more accepting of heavier weights among adults and adolescents. A recent report by Georgia Southern University indicated that fewer overweight/obese adolescents self-perceived as such when compared to reports from previous years (Lu H et al., 2015). To thoroughly examine the trend of weight loss among overweight and obese US adolescents, we used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for this study. Three survey periods were examined and classified as the early (reference), intermediate and recent period: 1988-1994, 1999-2004 and 2009-2014, respectively. Participants (N=5491) aged 16-19 were included across all survey periods. The main question of interest was “During the past 12 months, have you tried to lose weight?”. Results indicated there was a 36% decrease from 1988-1994 and further down by 44% of overweight and obese adolescents attempting to lose weight. In summation, fewer overweight and obese adolescents attempted to lose weight in 2009-2014 compared with their counterparts interviewed in 1988-1994. Additionally, more adolescents with overweight or obesity seem satisfied with their weight and not ready or motivated to engage in weight loss efforts.

Trends in Weight Loss Efforts Among US Adolescents With Overweight and Obesity” was recently published JAMA Pediatrics.

Authors are Ms. Daneisha R. Hawkins, MPH, Ms. Kathryn Kazmierski, Ms. Cathony Reid, Ms. Alicia Brown, MPH, students of Jiann-Ping Hsu Collage of Public Health Georgia Southern University (JPHCOPH),  Dr. Andrew Hansen, Assistant Professor, Dr. Samuel T. Opoku, Assistant Professors, JPHCOPH, and Dr. Jian Zhang, Associate Professor, JPHCOPH.

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Posted in Community Health, Department News, JPHCOPH