None of the participants was actively seeking out medical care at the study's launch. All provided their weight and height, and all reported on whether or not they had had pimples, and to what degree, the week before the study.
All responded to questions about drinking or smoking, history of mental distress and dietary habits -- especially concerning sugar, sweets, chocolate, raw vegetables, fatty fish and potato chips.
Overweight was defined as having a BMI of 25 and up, while obesity referred to a BMI of 30 and up. Just under 10 percent of the girls and just over 15 percent of the boys were deemed overweight; fewer than 40 of either gender were classified as obese.
Overall, roughly 13 percent of all the girls were found to have acne. When looking solely at girls who were overweight or obese, however, this figure rose to almost 19 percent.
The story was different among boys, with between 13 percent and 14 percent having acne regardless of their weight.
After accounting for an array of other possible factors that might affect acne risk, Halvorsen's team concluded that excess weight is associated with acne risk among teenage girls, but not boys.
It should be noted, though, that the study revealed an association between excess weight and acne, but did not prove cause-and-effect.
Dr. Joel Gelfand, medical director of the department of dermatology clinical studies unit at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, described the effort as "very important," given the paucity of research in the field.
"There's not a lot of work out there understanding what the risk factors are for developing acne," he said. "And we're talking about a disease that affects virtually everyone at some point, and can have a devastating impact on a person's quality of life. So any work to b
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