Online Program

Is overweight perception a risk factor for youth smoking?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jangho Yoon, MSPH, PhD, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Health Policy and Management Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Objectives: This study aims to (1) determine the causal effect of overweight perception on youth smoking; and (2) test whether sex and weight loss effort may play a mediating role.

Methods: We analyze data from 2005-2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of nationally-representative 9–12 graders in the U.S. Outcomes include dichotomous indicators for current smoking and frequent current smoking. Body weight perception variables include dichotomous very overweight, slightly overweight, and normal weight perception. To obtain the causal effect of perceived weight on smoking, we estimate a survey-weighted bivariate probit model in which actual body weight influences smoking through weight perception. We also estimate the model on subgroups stratified by sex and weight loss effort.

Results: As compared to those with normal-weight perception, adolescents with very-overweight perception are more likely to be a current smoker and frequent smoker by 4 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively (p > 0.01). Adolescents with a slightly overweight perception are more likely than those with normal weight perception to be current smokers and frequent smokers by 8.4 percentage points and 2.7 percentage points, respectively (p > 0.01). Overweight perception is significantly associated with increased current and frequent smoking among female students (p > 0.01), especially those who try to lose weight (p > 0.01).

Conclusions: The perception of being overweight has a significant impact on smoking behavior among adolescents. Strategies to combat youth smoking may become more effective when the positive relationship between overweight perception and smoking is considered in identifying at-risk adolescents.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss risk factors for adolescent smoking. Evaluate the link between body weight perception and smoking status among adolescent with a particular emphasis on a causal relationship. Discuss policy and clinical implications of the identified relationship between weight perception and youth smoking.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Smoking

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health economist, and have conducted research on behavioral health issues including substance use, obesity, mental health and smoking.
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.