Teenaged mothers may become obese adults

Apr 25, 2013

A study appearing in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology may be the first to connect teenaged motherhood with adult obesity. Researchers found that US women who give birth as teenagers are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese later in life than are women who were not teenaged mothers.

 

A study appearing in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology may be the first to connect teenaged motherhood with adult obesity. Researchers found that US women who give birth as teenagers are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese later in life than are women who were not teenaged mothers.

“When taking care of teen moms, we often have so many immediate concerns-child care, housing, school, social and financial support-that we don’t often think of the long term health effects of teen pregnancy,” noted lead author Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS, in a University of Michigan press release.

Chang and others used the 2001-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of the US civilian, non-institutionalized population. They performed multinomial logistic regression adjusting for survey cohort, age at survey, race, education, and parity. They included women 20-59 years old at the time of survey, with at least one live birth, not currently or recently pregnant (unweighted n=5220; weighted N=48.4 million). The outcome measure was the effect of teenaged birth on subsequent overweight and obesity.

In bivariate analyses, women with a teenaged birth were significantly more likely than women without a teenaged birth to be overweight (RRR=1.61; 95% CI 1.37-1.90) or obese (RRR=1.84; 1.56-2.16) at the time of the survey. In multivariate models, women with a teenaged birth remained significantly more likely to be overweight (aRRR=1.33, 1.10-1.62) or obese (aRRR=1.32, 1.09-1.61) than women without a teenaged birth.

The researchers concluded that “To inform clinical and policy interventions with the goal to improve the long-term health of teenage mothers, future studies must examine modifiable physiologic and sociomedical reasons for early childbearing and later risk of obesity.”