In another study published in the February 20 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia (2012; 196 [3], 189–92), researchers explored the prevalence of overweight and obesity among students aged 12–17. They also wanted to understand factors associated with carrying the extra weight.

They combed information from the 2009–2010 National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity survey, which included responses from 12,188 students. According to the data, 18% of respondents were classified as overweight and 5% were obese. Males were more likely than females to be overweight or obese. When cross-referencing weight with external factors, the researchers found that heavier students tended to sleep less, did not participate in regular physical activity, watched more television and were of lower socioeconomic
status than normal-weight students.

Based on their findings, the authors urged that “there is a need for interventions to reduce overweight and obesity during adolescence. Preventive measures should include a focus on physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior, as well as promoting adequate sleep, particularly among young people from lower socioeconomic position neighbourhoods who appear to be most susceptible.”

Calling all Australian fitness professionals: What are you doing to help with the overweight/obesity problem? Send your story to [email protected], and we may include it in an upcoming issue of
IDEA Fitness Journal.