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Soc Sci Med. 2006 Nov;63(9):2255-67. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

The family environment and American adolescents' risk of obesity as young adults.

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Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85227, USA.


In this article, the effects of the family environment and adolescents' behaviors while in school grades 7 through 12 on their weight status 6 years later are examined using data from the United States National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Ordinal regression models of 6378 adolescents reveal that their family environments exert an influence on their weight that lasts into young adulthood. Parental obesity puts both males and females at greater risk for being overweight or obese as young adults, as does already having excessive weight in adolescence. The findings also reveal significant gender differences in the intergenerational transmission of body weight within families. Higher parental educational attainment, a stronger perception that parents care about them, and a higher self-esteem reduce female adolescents' risk for excessive weight as young adults, while being African American or Native American increases it. In contrast, only a perception that their parents are trying to control their diets and a higher degree of closeness with a parent put male adolescents at greater risk for excessive weight as young adults. Adolescents' participation in physical activities does not predict subsequent weight for either males or females, although the amount of time spent in sedentary activities does for females, but not males. The only adolescent behavior examined that influenced male weight in young adulthood was eating breakfast.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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