Weight patterns of youth entering an urban juvenile justice facility
Purpose: We conducted a retrospective chart review to examine health patterns, specifically weight patterns, of youth entering urban juvenile justice facilities over a period of 16 months. Background: Prior research has indicated that incarcerated adolescents are a very high risk population who experience more violence, have higher mortality rates, and have more physical and mental health problems than the general adolescent population. However, little is known about overweight and obesity, and associated factors, in incarcerated youth. Methods/Design: We used retrospective chart review to investigate weight patterns of youth entering a juvenile justice facility from August 1, 2010 until February 1, 2011 (n=549). Variables included: DYS status (detained or committed), gender, date of birth, date of height and weight, race and ethnicity, medical diagnoses and medications Results: Of 549 subjects, 72% were male, 28% female. Most subjects, 79%, were non-white, and 27% reported their ethnicity as Hispanic. Mean age was 16.4 years. We found higher rates of overweight and obesity in incarcerated adolescents than in adolescents in the surrounding community, 40% and. 34% respectively. Incarcerated adolescents on asthma medications (n=138) had significantly (p<0.001) higher rates of overweight and obesity, when compared with those not on asthma medications (n=411). Adolescents defined as committed (n= 197), versus detained (n=352), had significantly ((p<0.05) higher mean BMI Z scores, 0.95 and 0.75 respectively. Committed juveniles who were taking antipsychotic medications were at increased risk for elevated BMI (Cohen's d = 0.72). Conclusion: Incarcerated youth are a high risk population in need of education and counseling interventions about overweight and obesity; specifically youth on asthma and certain psychiatric medications. Key Words: Obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI), juvenile justice, asthma, antipsychotic medication
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research
Compare rates of overweight and obesity among incarcerated youth to youth in the community.
Identify risk factors for elevated BMI among incarcerated youth.
Keyword(s): Adolescents, Obesity
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