Adolescent BMI: The Importance of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Molly Jacobs (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Objectives:Research shows that weight trends in adolescence persist into adulthood, but do the same factors contribute to weight in adolescenceas in adulthood? Are extrinsic factors presumably more important than intrinsic characteristics? This study identifies the correlationbetween BMI and various intrinsic and extrinsic factors and evaluates their relative importance in BMI development. It compares theprimary determinants for adolescents (12-20 years old) and adults (21+ years old).Methods:Using 15 years of panel data, generalized linear models, we assessed the impact of extrinsic-environmental, biological, geographicand household-and intrinsic-sexual activity, substance use, desire to lose weight, etc.-characteristics on adolescent and adult BMI.Multinomial logit models tested the contribution of these characteristics to weight categories.Results:Race and age were the most significant BMI correlates at all ages. This remains true for weight classification as well. For youngadolescents, intrinsic factors are highly deterministic, while extrinsic factors play no role. As adolescents age into adults, intrinsicfactors continue to be deterministic, while extrinsic covariates also emerge as deterministic. Intrinsic determinates of significanceinclude age of first sexual encounter, tobacco experimentation, perspective on general health, and desire to lose weight (or stay thesame weight).Conclusion:While biological/genetic attributes are the largest determinants of BMI at every age, intrinsic factors play a larger role in adolescentBMI development than adults. As individuals age, intrinsic determinants remain important, but extrinsic characteristics contributesignificantly to weight classification. Thus, the weight determinants differ between adolescents and adults suggesting differentmethods of policy intervention be used for adolescents and adults.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Obesity, Adolescence, BMI, Mother, Intrinsic factors, Extrinsic factors, Multinomial logit models

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