Low-Income Teens More Susceptible to Obesity

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_315a1a420b.jpgmoodboard/Thinkstock (CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Teen obesity is still a major problem in the U.S. although the skyrocketing rate from a decade ago has mostly flattened in recent years. In fact, the news is pretty good for teens from families whose parents went to college. Studies show the rate at somewhere between 7 and 11 percent during the years 2003 through 2010-11.

But as Carl Frederick and his research team from Harvard University discovered, the obesity rate for adolescents with parents who didn’t go college is much higher: an astounding 26 percent to 29 percent during the same period.

One easy answer for this disparity, Frederick said, is the lack of healthy food options available to youngsters from low income families.

However, what really might be hurting teens with fewer economic disadvantages is that they’re not as physically active as their wealthier and slimmer counterparts.  In 2011, more than nine in ten teens with college-educated parents claimed to have gotten at least 20 minutes of sustained exercise during the week while only eight out of ten teens from poorer households could say the same.

Frederick also learned participation in high school sports and activities was significantly greater for students with better educated, wealthier parents.

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