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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Obese or Overweight Teens Linked to Cigarettes

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A study was conducted to determine if teenage weight had any correlation with drug and alcohol use. While researchers were unable to tie overweight and obese teens to a higher risk of drug and alcohol use, they were, however, able to link weight status to regular cigarette smoking, according to Science Daily.

Researchers looked at data from a large survey of American teenagers, titled the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Study participants reported their height and weight, and were asked about their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana.

Overweight or obese as teenagers were found to be no more likely to abuse alcohol or marijuana than those who were of normal or average weight. However, a statistical analysis showed a correlation between high body mass index (BMI) and cigarette smoking in young adulthood.

"Young people smoke cigarettes for a variety of reasons," said lead author H. Isabella Lanza, Ph.D., research associate with the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs in Los Angeles. "For overweight or obese adolescents, the increased desire to improve social standing or fit in with others may also increase the probability of engaging in regular cigarette smoking."

Lanza goes on to say that cigarettes may also be used more by overweight and obese teens because they are thought to suppress appetite and help with weight reduction.

"I think we will see this play out even more in the public arena with a new generation of youth being persuaded to try e-cigarettes and other forms of 'healthier' nicotine products in order to advance their social standing," she added.

The widely held belief that smoking cigarettes helps with appetite suppression and weight reduction is not true, according to Christopher N. Ochner, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and spokesperson for The Obesity Society. "People who smoke crave fatty foods more."

The findings were reported in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

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