As if teenagers didn’t have enough problems to face while
passing through this conflictive life stage, more and more Latinas
must deal with being overweight. This was shown in a study
published by the Pan American Health Organization, which analyzed
the differences in overweight among adolescents of Mexico, Puerto
Rico, and other Latin American Countries living in the United
Television Doesn’t Help To perform the research, the results of the study “Monitoring the Future” where analyzed, including information of Latin American students of 8th and 10th grade throughout the country (data between 1991 and 2004).
Among the results, a higher proportion of Mexican American girls were overweight, compared with other Latin American girls. Puerto Rican girls took second place.
While researchers found no relationship between overweight and family characteristics, they did find a direct relationship among other factors:
• Economic status: the lower the family’s income, the more overweight;
• Exercise frequency: Mexican American girls practice fewer sports compared to other teenagers;
• Time spend watching TV: the more TV time, the more overweight.
“The time spent exercising and watching television are two potentially modifiable risk factors. If targeted, a significant weight reduction can be achieved,” explained the study leaders within the conclusions.
As the number of Latin Americans living in the United States increases, so does the percentage of obesity within this population group, representing one of the major concerns for state health agencies because of the relationship between obesity and many chronic conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and cancer, among others.
However, the study clearly states: two of the factors that cause overweight among Mexican teenagers can be reversed. Make some changes to your diet and get moving!
Source: “Health-Related Behaviors and Overweight: A Study of Latino Adolescents in the United States of America”, Jorge Delva, Patrick M. O´Malley and Lloyd D. Johnston, Pan American Public Health Magazine.
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