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

lly in response to two perceived problems with existing research in the field.

First of all, older adolescents are an unrepresented sample in research studies, Sabiston said. Researchers have generally looked at youths or at university populations and have completely missed this unique, intermediate age group. Second, Sabiston said, many researchers have traditionally treated physical activity and healthy eating as separate phenomena, and have only rarely explored their similarities and differences simultaneously.

The study also found a significant difference in the way boys and girls approach physical activity and healthy diet. Boys, Sabiston said, need to attach value to a healthy diet and feel confident in their ability to follow a healthy diet before theyll actually do it. Girls, she said, regardless of how they feel about their ability to eat a healthy diet, only need to feel it is important to do so before theyll eat properly.

What this study really says, Sabiston explained, is that one cannot assume that someone who is physically active necessarily eats a healthy diet or the reverse, that someone who is more sedentary or has a high BMI by definition eats a diet of junk food.

This study drives home the point that as a society, were primarily focused on extrinsic things like appearance and weight versus the betterment of health, Sabiston said. From a public health perspective, this means we should probably focus on people who are at a healthy weight or even underweight, and emphasize that healthy eating is not just about weight-change.


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Contact: Mark Shainblum
mark.shainblum@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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