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Obese Teen Girls Have Riskier Sex, Says Study

Did Weight Affect Your "Risky" Teen Behavior?

A study that looked at obese vs. normal-weight teens and their "high-risk" behavior (i.e. drinking, sex, smoking, drugs, and suicide tendencies) found weight didn't drastically affect the likelihood teens took part in these activities. The researchers were surprised with these results because they thought obese teens would take fewer risks than their peers due to being stigmatized and isolated, which I'm guessing they equated to less partying.

I also wonder if the researchers were expecting obese teens, especially girls, to feel too self-conscious to engage in sexual activity, which wasn't really the case since the numbers were pretty similar — 32 percent of obese girls have had sex compared to 46 percent of normal-weight girls. What I find most disturbing from this research is that obese girls are riskier with their sexual encounters, having sex before age 13 (seven percent compared to three percent), drinking alcohol or using drugs before sex (42 compared to 17), and not using condoms (54 compared to 42).

When you were a teenager, did your weight affect the choices you made in these areas? Share your stories in the comments.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
SocialistLez SocialistLez 6 years
I hate generalizations. I knew some overweight girls who used sex as a way to try get boys to like them and I also knew thin girls who did the same thing.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
I have a good friend who is overweight who fits this. She uses male attention to give herself a confidence boost, so her behavior is risky. This is bad for her because she's trying to find a long term relationship, but these guys want nothing to do with her after they find out she's easy (she's still a virgin, but engages in other activities).The last guy she was going to have sex with, she was planning on not using any protection in hopes of getting pregnant. Yeah... I wasn't overweight in high school, but I wasn't "popular" either. I graduated a virgin (proudly), to this day have never had unprotected sex, and have never tried drugs.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
In my high school experience, the overweight girls usually were the ones who were heavily involved in risky behavior. I think they did it to fit in and gain friends. But really it comes down to how desperate you are to fit in, regardless of weight. I didn't want to fit in, I had my own group of rejects, so I didn't do too many risky things.
TJTalks TJTalks 6 years
I wonder if the study explored childhood trauma (sexual and/or physical abuse) as a factor in both obesity and riskier behavior. I'm guessing there might be a correlation.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
I was overweight when I was a teenager, but I was so unpopular that I wasn't even picked on, I was mostly just invisible. I couldn't get a date to prom. I asked a bunch of guys, desperate guys, who still said no. So yeah, I never had the opportunity to engage in risky behavior, lol. Probably wouldn't have if I did, I was a good kid.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
I was overweight in my early teen years (not obese) and when I started losing it I got much wilder- unprotected sex, drinking, drugs, getting kicked out of school, I was awful. Liz I think you make a very good point, "kids aren't shown good examples and encouraged to be kids and stay out of trouble." My parents weren't very supportive of me and when you're 16 and you think your parents don't care but drugs and dick help you forget it- it's hard to not make bad decisions. I wonder if absent parenting causes both the obesity AND the risky behavior- kids who aren't fed well likely aren't well supported emotionally. I don't think the weight causes the behavior, I think they're both a symptom of emotional problems.
lizlee89 lizlee89 6 years
It kind of offends me that you put the word "riskier" in quotation marks - do you not think these bahaviors are risky and bad? I'm tired of everybody acting like teens engaging in adult behaviors (not to mention behaviors in which adults should not even engage; i.e. casual sex, smoking, doing drugs, and abusing alcohol) isn't a big deal. Then again, maybe we shouldn't call it "risky," as if it only might be bad - these behaviors will definitely hurt (whether physically, emotionally, or what). That being said, and to answer the question, I was heavier in high school, but that did not cause me to avoid bad behavior. My morals, good parenting, and a strong religiosity did. I'm really not trying to be high and mighty (even though I am obviously coming off as such), but I get frustrated that kids aren't shown good examples and encouraged to be kids and stay out of trouble. I would venture to guess that one of the reasons obese girls are more sexually irresponsible is that they are insecure and self-concious. Of course, I would think that's also one of the reasons why most teens start engaging in these behaviors...
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I would think that kids who take part in riskier activities are seeking acceptance from their peers. I went to school for years with a very large girl who took up smoking in 12th grade (she didn't seem like the type, but now she had this automatic social 'in' with a whole different group of people). Self-esteem would be a factor, and I wouldn't call it a rule that self-esteem is inversely correlated to weight. I was the scrawny isolated girl, though I wasn't a risk taker.
Natalie-Love Natalie-Love 6 years
I didn't have a weight issue, but neither did I take very many risks as a teen. I had high self confidence, but I don't think that equated to risk-taking. So no, no correlation here!
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