Teenagers of normal weight who live in neighbourhoods with lower education or income levels are at higher risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life, says a new study.
It found that 25 percent of young adults became overweight or obese. "Emerging adulthood is a critical time period for excess weight gain due to a variety of factors, including many teenagers leaving home for college and having more freedom and access to food," noted Deborah Rohm Young, Researcher, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Department of Research & Evaluation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social determinants of health, which are the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age, affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
Over the course of four years, researchers found about 23 percent of the normal-weight teenagers living in neighbourhoods with low education became overweight and about 2 per cent of those living in lower income neighbourhoods became obese. In addition, females and blacks had almost 1.7 and 1.3 times the increased risk compared with males and whites, respectively, for being overweight or obese.
"Our study found that living in a disadvantaged place puts teens at an increased risk for being overweight or obese. Although we did not explore potential reasons for this increase, factors may include cultural norms, as well as lack of access to public parks and grocery stores," Young added, in the paper published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.