Overweight and Obese Teens Have Overweight/Obese Friends
Posted Jul 18 2009 12:00am
A recent study done at USC shows that overweight/obese teens are twice as likely to have overweight/obese friends than normal weight teens. The researchers also found that overweight girls were more likely to name more friends, but less likely to be named as a friend than normal-weight girls. The link between obesity and social networks was expected, since the same trend appears in adults. However, it was surprising how strong the peer effect is and how early in life it starts. Experts are worried as this trend reinforces the negative behaviors that cause obesity. Childhood obesity is now 20% in the U.S. and rising. Teen and young adult obesity is at 30%. Furthermore, education and intervention is needed to change behaviors of these teens and change the trends that can affect their health and self-image throughout their lives.