An Examination of Weight Status and High-Risk Sexual Behaviors among Adolescents and Young Adults

Ursula K. Weiss, Florida State University
Kathryn H. Tillman, Florida State University

While much is known about the prevalence of overweight/obesity and the health costs directly associated with excess body weight, few studies have explored the relationship between overweight/obesity and engagement in risky behaviors that may impact health indirectly. Given the serious consequences associated with engagement in sexual activity, it is important to know how individual-level characteristics influence young people’s risk for engaging in particularly high-risk sexual behaviors. The purpose of this project is to assess the association between obesity/overweight and engagement in risky sexual behaviors. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we seek to explore any cross-sectional associations between weight status and risky sexual behaviors. We also examine whether the effects associated with pediatric obesity/overweight endure throughout the transition to adulthood. Finally, we examine how individual characteristics, such as gender, age, race/ethnicity and immigrant status condition the associations between weight status and sexual-risk taking behaviors.

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Presented in Poster Session 7