Weight Status and Weight-Management Behaviors Among Philadelphia High School Students, 2007–2011
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Weight Status and Weight-Management Behaviors Among Philadelphia High School Students, 2007–2011

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    The prevalence of obesity among youth may be stabilizing and even declining in some areas of the United States. The objective of our study was to examine whether the stabilization in obesity prevalence among Philadelphia high school students was accompanied by changes in weight-management behaviors.


    We evaluated changes in self-reported weight status and weight-management behaviors by using data collected by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2007, 2009, and 2011. We used multivariable regression models controlling for race/ethnicity and age to estimate prevalence.


    Although the proportion of overweight and obese students did not change significantly during the study period, we found that approximately half of female students and 30% of male students reported trying to lose weight. Among female students, we observed significant increases in the proportion engaging in 5 or more days of physical activity per week (26.0% in 2007 to 31.9% in 2011; P = .003) and significant decreases in the proportion consuming at least 1 soda per day (31.1% in 2007 to 22.5% in 2011, P = .001). The proportion of female students who fasted for weight loss also increased significantly during the study period (12.2% in 2007 to 17.0% in 2011, P = .02). We found no significant changes in behavior among male students.


    Although the prevalence of obesity and overweight may have reached a plateau among Philadelphia high school students, most students still failed to meet recommendations for healthful weight-management behaviors. Continued public health initiatives are necessary to promote participation in healthful weight-management behaviors.

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