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贫困青少年更易超重

2006-05-30 16:10CRI Online

Poor Teens More Likely to Become Overweight

Older American teenagers living in poverty have grown fatter at a higher rate than their peers, according to research that seems to underscore the unequal burden of obesity on the nation's poor.

"Today the percentage of adolescents age 15-17 who are overweight is about 50 percent higher in poor as compared to nonpoor families, a difference that has emerged recently," said Johns Hopkins' sociologist Richard Miech, the study's lead author.

Obesity rates among all teens climbed substantially during the study, which covered 30 years. But the great divide concerning income occurred most notably among the 15- to 17-year-old age group.

That led one outside expert to challenge the findings. Rand Corp. economist Roland Sturm said it seems implausible that younger teens would differ so much from older teens.

Even if they do, he said, "It seems a rather secondary issue compared to the general trend in weight gain across all youth."

Miech argued that older teens generally have more autonomy to buy what they want and to determine their own activity levels, which he said might explain the results.

Sturm and other experts said the study's underlying message about obesity and poverty is sound.

The study appeared in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. It is based on data from 10,800 youngsters ages 12 to 17 who participated in four nationally representative health surveys conducted from 1971 to 2004.

The researchers determined poverty levels using family income and the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty threshold.

In the early 1970s, about 4 percent of poor youngsters ages 15 to 17 were severely overweight, compared with about 5 percent of teens who were not poor.

By the early 2000s, those rates jumped to 23 percent of the poor and 14 percent of other youths, the researchers said.

The results contrast with recent research suggesting that while the poor are most likely to be overweight, obesity rates among U.S. adults have climbed fastest in recent decades among those with annual salaries greater than $60,000.

Miech said both could be right because eating and exercise habits are different for adults and adolescents.

During the past decade, the percentage of calories from sweetened drinks has grown by more than 20 percent among teens in the 15-17 age group -- an increase concentrated among the poor, he said.

"We also find that physical inactivity increases with age in adolescence, as well as the probability of skipping breakfast," said Miech. "Both these factors are more likely to be found among the poor and are also associated with overweight."


美国一项最新研究结果显示,由于常喝易导致肥胖的软饮料、不吃早餐又没有进行体育锻炼的习惯,因此那些来自贫困家庭、年龄在15岁至17岁的青少年更容易体重超标。

据路透社5月23日报道,此项研究报告的作者、美国约翰·霍普金斯大学的理查德·迈克对此表示,在过去的30年中,美国超重青少年的数量翻了一番。比起体重正常的孩子,他们患上糖尿病、高血压以及一些潜在危及生命的疾病的可能性要高得多。

该研究以2004年美国国家健康和营养测试调查(NHANES)为基础。研究发现,在来自贫困家庭的年龄在15至17岁的青少年中,有23%的人体重超标,与其形成对比的是,非贫困家庭的相同年龄段人群体重超重率只有14%。

研究还发现,来自贫困家庭和非贫困家庭的年龄在12岁至14岁的青少年,其超重比例大致相同。

研究人员说,造成这种现象的原因是由于年龄稍大的青少年往往更有自主权来选择自己吃什么东西或做什么事情。研究发现,与家境较好的孩子相比,贫困家庭的孩子要明显地更容易从一些软饮料中摄入过多的卡路里。同时,他们不吃早餐、缺乏身体锻炼的可能性也更大。

报道说,这项研究发表在最新一期的《美国医学会杂志》上。

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