Teen girls are typically prone to unhealthy levels of weight gain. Well a new study that just came out that looked at some of the potential causes of weight gain. The list included internet use - meaning they sit a lot, alcohol use - which we know can start in the teen years, coffee consumption - which certainly increases, and sleep patterns. Researchers polled more than 5000 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 years old from all 50 states and clearly all 4 issues contributed to weight gain. The girls specifically who were 18 or older and consumed more than 2 alcoholic beverages a week and slept less than 6 hours nightly - were prone to gain the most weight. And when internet use was added to that group as a regular habit - these girls on average gained at least 4 pounds/year.
The reason why the study is so important is that the habits listed above may be considered typical and inevitable by parents and therefore not even factored into weight gain discussion. Health experts constantly write about the impact of too few hours of sleep and habitual internet use (which means sitting for many hours). Drinking coffee on a regular basis may be compounding the problem because these girls typically drink higher calorie blended coffee drinks AND the coffee helps them to stay up longer - meaning lots of liquid calories and a vicious cycle of less sleep. Whether or not these habits are here to stay - parents and pediatricians/adolescent specialists need to talk with teen girls and highlight the impact of these habits on their waistlines and their health.
Are you a teen or teen parent? Are you seeing the impact of these newly entrenched habits??
Published On: July 20, 2008