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Physical activity, healthy eating and BMI not linked in older teens: study
Date:4/30/2008

This release is also available in French.

Contrary to what many researchers expect, physically active older teens dont necessarily eat a healthier diet than their less-active contemporaries.

And there appeared to be no link between body mass index (BMI) values and levels of physical activity, the research showed.

The study of 900 Vancouver-area teenagers in Grades 10 through 12 was conducted by Dr. Catherine Sabiston, of McGill University, and P.R.E. Crocker, of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The results of their research conducted in Vancouver while Dr. Sabiston was still a PhD student at UBC were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health earlier this year.

Overall, said Sabiston, now an assistant professor in McGills Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, boys reported participating in more physical activities but ate a less-healthy diet than did girls. Moreover and contrary to established wisdom in the field researchers found that people with healthier BMI values were no more likely to be physically active than those with higher, unhealthier values. Unexpectedly, it was the latter who were more likely to eat a healthier diet.

A lot of people are surprised, Dr. Sabiston said, but when you think about it, BMI doesnt have a huge impact on physical activity. And in terms of diet, it actually makes sense that someone who is not happy with their body might try to eat more healthily.

According to Sabiston, who is also director of McGills Health Behaviour and Emotion Lab, the results showed only a very weak correlation between physical activity and healthy eating, and virtually no correlation between an individuals BMI and his or her level of physical activity. The study was undertaken to test a comprehensive model of physical activity and healthy eating behaviour in teens aged 15 to 18, partia
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Contact: Mark Shainblum
mark.shainblum@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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