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School Social Standing Linked to Teen Girls' Weight Gain
Date:1/8/2008

Those who self-reported low esteem most likely to add pounds over 2-year span, study finds,,

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Teenaged girls who believed they were lower on the social ladder were more likely to put on extra pounds, U.S. researchers report.

The researchers, led by Adina R. Lemeshow of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Tobacco Control, analyzed questionnaires completed by 4,446 girls, aged 12 to 18, in 1999.

The questionnaire collected information about height, weight, television viewing habits, diet and other factors, including the girls' perceived social standing at school.

Girls who said they were at four or below (lowest) on a 10-point scale of social standing were more likely to put on extra weight over the next two years than those who said they had a standing of five or higher.

The average body-mass index (BMI) among all the girls was 20.8 in 1999 and 22.1 in 2001. During those two years, 520 of the girls (11.7 percent) had at least a two-unit increase in BMI.

"After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, baseline BMI, diet, television viewing, depression, global and social self-esteem, menarche, height growth, mother's BMI and pretax household income, adolescent girls who placed themselves on the low end of the school subjective social status scale had 69 percent increased odds of having a two-unit increase in BMI during the next two years compared with other girls," the study authors wrote.

The findings were published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"It is important that researchers consider physical, behavioral, environmental and socioemotional factors that might contribute to the rising prevalence of overweight in adolescents," the researchers concluded.

"Previous research suggests that emotional factors
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