253461 Teen Pregnancy & Obesity: A New Agenda for Change

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ann Peralta, BA, MPH Candidate , Boston Program Director, Peer Health Exchange, Boston, MA
Sophie Godley, MPH , Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Overweight and obese high school girls are two to three times as likely to have had sex before the age of 13, about 30% more likely to have had sex with more than three partners in their teen years, almost 20% less likely to use condoms, and more than 30% less likely to use other contraceptive methods. Experiencing a pregnancy as a teen can increase risk for both maternal and child obesity because teen moms are more likely to exceed gestational weight gain recommendations, retain more weight at 24-36 months postpartum, and have a short (<12 months) inter-pregnancy interval. Teen moms are also more likely to give birth to a low birth weight, high birth weight, or pre-term baby all of which are associated with higher risk for obesity in children. And yet, public health professionals in these fields may not be aware of the inter-connectivity of these seemingly disparate issues. Programs may even be working at cross-purposes and inadvertently promoting an unhealthy environment. A review of the most recent literature and a series of key informant interviews of Boston-based public health professionals working in these fields demonstrate the urgent need for addressing these issues together and ensuring that programs are supporting one another across issues. This poster will summarize the current findings on the interconnectivity between teen pregnancy and obesity and propose strategies to inform youth programming. Future directions for additional research are also described.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify three ways in which teen pregnancy and obesity directly interact to produce negative health outcomes. Describe six concrete steps public health programs working with adolescents can take to address the inter-connectivity of teen pregnancy and obesity. Explain three future research paths to further explore these issues.

Keywords: Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have experience working in both adolescent sexual health and childhood obesity prevention public health programming. I currently direct Boston programming for a national adolescent health education non-profit.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.