Obese Teens Just as Likely to Have Sex, Drink, Smoke as Their Thinner Peers, Study Shows

Filed under: Teens, In The News, Alcohol & Drugs, Health

obese teens sex and boozing

A new study suggests obese teens engage in the same risky social behaviors as their svelte peers. Credit: Getty Images

Why should sex, smoking and boozing be the privilege of only one body type?

Plus-sized teens are proving they can party hard, too. While obese teens were thought to be social outcasts, the findings of a new study suggest they engage in the same risky social behaviors as their svelte peers, including smoking, hooking up and drinking, CNN reports.

Those behaviors, however, can signal more serious problems for obese teens, according to the network.

The 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the behavior of 9,000 high school students, finding that, in some ways, obese teens drink as much as their normal-weight peers. But they also take greater risks.

In addition, both males and females in the extremely obese group were more likely to report having tried cigarettes, according to the study published in Pediatrics.

Though obese girls are less likely to have sex than their thinner peers, the girls that are sexually active are more likely also to be under the influence of substances, lead researcher Meg Zeller of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, tells CNN.

"So it really paints this picture of vulnerability for this sub-population of teen girls and it really makes us question what their social interactions are really like," she tells the network. "These kids are suffering medically and psychosocially, and now we know that they're also engaging in high-risk behaviors. That could be a lethal combination."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.