A new study published in the journal Pediatrics evaluated the risk-taking behaviors of high school students and found that extremely obese teens engage in the same high-risk behaviors as peers who maintain a healthy weight. Um, they needed a study to tell them that?
For the study, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center evaluated data from a nationwide 2007 survey conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They compared 410 extremely obese high school students -those with a BMI or body mass index in the 99th percentile - with 8,669 of their peers who had a healthy weight -thoe with a BMI in the fifth to 84th percentile. The CDC survey included specific questions about "risky" behavior such as cigarette smoking, the use of drugs or alcohol, sexual behaviors and thoughts of suicide.
The results? The researchers found that the two groups were equally likely to engage in high-risk behavior, with few exceptions. They also found that obese teens tend to engage in risky behaviors with "more intensity" than their peers, although it was unclear how this level of intensity was rated.
My response? You needed a study to tell you that?
Maybe it's just me, but this study almost comes off as a little insulting to overweight kids - whether they are obese or not. Did the researchers think that these kids wouldn't smoke or do drugs or heaven forbid have sex just because they are overweight? Did they think that only "cool" kids engage in these types of activities and that obese kids couldn't possibly fit in to this group? Were they never teens themselves?
One important point that this study did raise is that obese teens who do smoke, drink, or do drugs are that much more likely to damage their health further than teens who are not obese because they are probably already suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other health conditions.