Predictors of obesity among adolescents with disabilities
Methods Data for high school aged adolescents were obtained from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for four states. Logistic regression models were fit to assess the effects of dietary habits and physical activity on obesity, defined as an age and gender adjusted body mass index (BMI) greater than the 95th percentile. Effect modification by disability status was explored.
Results Twenty percent of the 9,775 eligible survey participants reported a learning, emotional, or physical disability. After adjustment, adolescents with disabilities were more likely to be obese (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 1.5), drink soda (AOR=1.2; 95% CI: 1.1, 1.3), have an eating behavior disorder (AOR=2.8; 95% CI: 2.5, 3.2), and were less likely to be physically active (AOR=0.6; 95% CI: 0.5, 0.7). Associations between all risk factors and obesity were similar among adolescents with and without disabilities (p-for-interaction >0.05).
Conclusions Adolescents with a broad range of disabilities are more likely to be obese, have poor dietary habits, and be less physically active relative to adolescents without disabilities. Successful obesity interventions need to target diet, physical activity, and eating behavior disorders among adolescents with disabilities. Understanding barriers to healthier diets and physical activity for this population is critical to developing effective obesity prevention programs.
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Assess the role demographics, diet, and physical activity play in influencing obesity for adolescents with disabilities. Describe targeted intervention areas for public health obesity interventions among adolescents with disabilities.
Keyword(s): Adolescents, Disabilities
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiologist with expertise in the area of dietary factors and obesity among mothers and children. I have published peer reviewed papers that explore multilevel risk factors for obesity within high risk populations. I have conducted research on the impacts of disability on health that I have presented at National Disability conferences.
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.