Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Linkage Between Teen Girls' Weight And Sexual Behavior

Date:
October 29, 2009
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
A new study sheds new light on the relationship between race, body weight and sexual behavior among adolescent girls. The results suggest that a girl's ethnicity and her actual weight or perception of her weight may play a role in her participation in risky sexual behaviors.

A University of Pittsburgh study sheds new light on the relationship between race, body weight and sexual behavior among adolescent girls. The results suggest that a girl's ethnicity and her actual weight or perception of her weight may play a role in her participation in risky sexual behaviors. The study results are published in the November issue of Pediatrics, now available online.

The study, conducted by Aletha Akers, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues, further links girls at weight extremes with an increased risk for engaging in sexual risk-taking behaviors.

"This study will contribute to sexual health education prevention efforts, which can be tailored to address how cultural norms regarding body size may influence adolescent sexual decision making. Knowing how a girl perceives her weight may be just as important as knowing her actual weight," noted Dr. Akers.

Of the nearly 7,200 high school girls asked about their sexual activity and risky sexual behavior as part of the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey, half reported ever having sex. Those girls who were both sexually active and overweight, or who thought they were overweight, were less likely to use condoms than normal-weight sexually active girls. Underweight girls also were less likely to use condoms.

The findings also suggested variability in the girls' sexual activity and sexual risk-taking behavior based on their ethnicity and actual or perceived weight.

  • Caucasian girls who believed that they were underweight, whether accurate or not, were more likely to have had sex and to have had four or more sexual partners. Overweight Caucasian girls were less likely to use condoms.
  • Underweight African-American girls also were less likely to use condoms while overweight African-American girls reported four or more sexual partners.
  • Latina girls of all weights were more likely to engage in a wide variety of sexual risk behaviors -- lack of condom or oral contraception use, sex before age 13, greater than four sexual partners and use of alcohol.

Dr. Akers also is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and an investigator in the Magee-Womens Research institute.

Other authors contributing to this study include Cheryl Lynch, M.D., M.P.H., Center for Health Disparities Research, Medical University of South Carolina; Melanie Gold, M.D., Division of Student Affairs; Willa Doswell, Ph.D., Department of Health Promotion & Management, School of Nursing; and James Bost, M.D., Division of General Internal Medicine, all of the University of Pittsburgh; Judy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., and Harold Wiesenfeld, M.D., both of the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Medicine, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC; and Wentao Feng, Ph.D., formerly a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Funding to support Dr. Akers and team came from a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Study Shows Linkage Between Teen Girls' Weight And Sexual Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029111915.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2009, October 29). Study Shows Linkage Between Teen Girls' Weight And Sexual Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029111915.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Study Shows Linkage Between Teen Girls' Weight And Sexual Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029111915.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins