This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Investigation of Factors Affecting the Overweight Status of Alabama High School Adolescents




Corliss, Carolyn

Type of Degree



Educational Foundations
Leadership and Technology


Obesity in children and adolescents has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS, 2000) the percentage of overweight young people in the United States has doubled since 1980, currently affecting one in seven children and adolescents. Current national nutrition surveillance data suggest that the diet of adolescents is putting them at risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, based on their intakes of saturated fat, total fat, fruits, vegetables, fiber, sodium, and soft drinks (CDC, 2004). In addition, the United States is experiencing an epidemic of overweight conditions that extends to the adolescent population; some of the related factors may be an excess in energy intake, low levels of physical activity, and high levels of sedentary behaviors. The intent of this research is to investigate these three variables and their relationship to the overweight status of Alabama high school adolescents. This study will explore three lifestyle and environmental risk factors that relate to adolescent overweight status. Using the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey results this study examined the relationship between television viewing, physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption and overweight status of Alabama high school adolescents. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was completed by 1088 students in 39 public high schools in Alabama during Spring 2003. Students participating in the survey completed a self-administered, anonymous, 87 item questionnaire. Adolescents attending the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades in Alabama were included in this study. Results indicated that race, gender, grade in school, television viewing, physical activity levels and fruit and vegetable consumption were not statistically significant predictors for body mass index using the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.