Inactivity Plays Key Role in Overweight Among Teen Girls
New survey results show that a lack of physical activity is playing a key role in teenage girls gaining weight.
Akinso: A lack of physical activity is playing a key role in teenage girls gaining weight, according to results from the Health and Growth Study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Teenage girls, who were inactive gained an average of 10 to 15 pounds more than active girls according to Doctor Eva Obarzanek, a NHLBI research nutritionist.
Obarzanek: When they divided the girls into three levels of activity those that were active, those that were very inactive and those in between, the difference in weight gain over that nine year follow up was quite substantial. A little bit more for the black girls at 15 pounds and a little bit less for the whites girls at 10 pounds. So there was a very large difference in weight between active and inactive girls by the time they were ages 18 and 19.
Akinso: Doctor Obarzanek feels an increase of brisk walks and other different kinds of activities can stablize this problem.
Obarzanek: Well what we need to do is to somehow prevent the decline in physical activity that occurs with girls. The best way to do that is really schools should have a very strong role. They should provide physical ed daily, so that girls should be active during their P.E. class. Schools should also provide noncompetitive physical activity opportunities. Keep the gyms open after school, keep the school yards open, and provide opportunities. Families can also help by engaging in physical activities together. It's good for the adults also. Instead of sitting around watching TV, the whole family can go out for a walk.
Akinso: The NHLBI has recently launched an obesity prevention program, known as "WE-CAN", which stands for, Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition. Doctor Obarzanek believes this program encourages parents and children to adopt a healthier style of living. For information, visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/. This is Wally Ainso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Eva Obarzanek
Topic: Obesity, Teen Females