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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Feb;24(2):506-15. doi: 10.1002/oby.21338.

Gender expression associated with BMI in a prospective cohort study of US adolescents.

Author information

1
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
2
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
3
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
4
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
5
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
6
Department of Biomedical Data Science, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between gender expression (GE) and BMI in adolescence.

METHODS:

Repeated measures of weight-related behaviors and BMI were collected from 1996 to 2011 via annual/biennial self-report surveys from youth aged 10 to 23 years (6,693 females, 2,978 males) in the longitudinal Growing Up Today Study. GE (very conforming [referent], mostly conforming, nonconforming) was assessed in 2010/11. Sex-stratified, multivariable linear models estimated GE group differences in BMI and the contribution of sexual orientation and weight-related exposures to group differences. Models for males included interaction terms for GE with age.

RESULTS:

In females, mostly conforming youth had 0.53 kg m(-2) and nonconforming had 1.23 kg m(-2) higher BMI; when adding adjustment for sexual orientation and weight-related exposures, GE group estimates were attenuated up to 8% and remained statistically significant. In males, mostly conforming youth had -0.67 kg m(-2) and nonconforming had -1.99 kg m(-2) lower BMI (age [in years]) interactions were between -0.09 and -0.14 kg m(-2) ; when adding adjustment for sexual orientation and weight-related exposures, GE group estimates were attenuated up to 11% and remained statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

GE is a strong independent predictor of BMI in adolescence. Obesity prevention and treatment interventions with youth must address ways that gender norms may reinforce or undermine healthful behaviors.

PMID:
26813530
PMCID:
PMC4730912
DOI:
10.1002/oby.21338
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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