Teenage Pregnancy Increases Risk for Obesity Later in Life

First Posted: Apr 20, 2013 06:42 AM EDT

The rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S. is one the highest in the developed world. Focusing on this issue, a new study states that women who gave birth as teens were more likely to be overweight or obese later in life, according to a news release.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System. This is the first study to identify teen pregnancy as a factor of obesity.

"When taking care of teen moms, we often have so many immediate concerns that we don't often think of the long term health effects of teen pregnancy. For the first time, we've identified our youngest moms as a high risk group for obesity, which we know to be one of the most debilitating, long-term health issues we face," says  lead author Tammy Chang, M.D., MPH, MS.

For the study, researchers worked on data collected from the National Health Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The study focused on women who gave birth between the ages 13-19. After controlling various factors like education, race and socio-economic indicators, the researchers noticed that 32 percent of the participants had higher risk of obesity when compared to those who had given birth at age of 20 or later.

There were just a few women who gave birth as teens that had normal weight when compared with women who didn't give birth as teens.

Researchers suggest that further studies are needed to understand the relation between teen birth and obesity in order to come up with the best care for teen mothers.

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