Adolescents’ Health Behaviors and Obesity
The research study aims at finding out the relationship between adolescents’ attributes such as race, age and family socioeconomic status, health behaviors and obesity by use of structural equation or path analysis model. Four key hypotheses were formulated and the first one is that, a low family SES corresponds to a high BMI. The second hypothesis is that an increase in family SES denotes a rise in fruit and vegetable intake, hence a reduced BMI. The third hypothesis is that reduced vigorous activity and less sleep would lead to a rise in BMI. The final hypothesis stated that sedentary activities would result to increased BMI levels (Dodor, Shelley and Hausafus, 2010). The study is qualitative because the researcher makes use of data in word form and not statistics or numerals.
The dependent variables that were used in the research study are gender and age. BMI is the independent variable which has been defined as the ratio between the weight of a participant in kilograms and the squared height of the participant. The percentile values that were gender and age specific were used to classify participants as obese and overweight. The variables that were used for computing BMI were height and weight. Demographic variables were also assessed and these include age, race and gender. The socioeconomic status variables, which were chosen by analyzing the exploratory factor, were also assessed. Other additional variables that were assessed include vigorous physical activity, sedentary activity, intake of vegetables and fruits and finally the participants’ hours of sleep (Dodor, et al, 2010).
There were various relationships that examined in the research study. One of the relationships is between race and overweight in adolescents. The study aimed at exploring if race controlled or affected adolescent obesity and overweight. The other relationship is between obesity, vigorous activity and fruits and vegetable intake in adolescents. Finally, the relationship between obesity and sedentary lifestyle was also examined in the study (Dodor, et al, 2010).
There are some additional variables that could have been examined by the researchers. Genetic factor is one of the variables that could have an impact on the outcome of the research study. Adolescents who have a family history of overweight or obesity are at a high risk of being obese and overweight. Sociological factors such as culture should also not be overlooked in regard to their contribution to obesity and overweight in adolescents. The key contribution of culture is especially important when trying to explain and analyze the rates of obesity in minority ethnic groups. Culture has an impact on the belief and attitudes of people towards food, exercise, self-esteem, nutrition and even the role of sexuality. Lifestyle factors such as drug and substance use, smoking and binge drinking are the other variables that may have a great impact in development of obesity and overweight in adolescents.
The authors concluded that family socioeconomic factors contributed to the observed obesity rate in Caucasian and African American adolescents. The relationship between obesity and family socioeconomic status was positive for adolescents of Caucasian origin but this was not the case with the African Americans. Moreover, the findings supported the hypotheses that stated that, few hours of sleep and low vigorous activity would lead to a rise in obesity, dietary intake of vegetables and fruits would lower obesity and overweight and finally, sedentary lifestyle led to increased chances of obesity and overweight in adolescents (Dodor, et al, 2010).
Dodor, B. A., Shelley, M. C., & Hausafus, C. O. (2010). Adolescents’ health behaviors and obesity. Does race affect this epidemic? Nutrition Research and Practice 4(6), 528-534