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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Relationships between physical activity, food choices, gender and BMI in Southern Californian teenagers

Jaclyn B. Gaylis
  • School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Susan S. Levy
  • School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Shiloah Kviatkovsky
  • School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Rebecca DeHamer
  • School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
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/ Mee Young Hong
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-7251, USA, Phone: +(619) 594-2392, Fax: +(619) 594-6553
  • Email
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Published Online: 2017-11-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0067


Given the increased prevalence of pediatric obesity and risk of developing chronic disease, there has been great interest in preventing these conditions during childhood by focusing on healthy lifestyle habits, including nutritious eating and physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between PA, body mass index (BMI) and food choices in adolescent males and females. This cross-sectional study, using a survey questionnaire, evaluated 1212 Southern Californian adolescents’ self-reported PA, BMI and food frequency. Results revealed that even though males are more active than females, they have higher BMI percentile values (p < 0.05). Females consumed salad, vegetables and fruit more frequently than males (p < 0.05), where males consumed hamburgers, pizza, red meat, processed meat, eggs, fish, fruit juice, soda and whole milk more frequently than females (p < 0.05). Overweight/obese teens consumed red meat, processed meat and cheese more frequently than healthy weight teens (p < 0.05), yet there was no difference in PA between healthy and overweight/obese teens. These results demonstrate that higher levels of PA may not counteract an unhealthy diet. Even though PA provides numerous metabolic and health benefits, this study suggests that healthy food choices may have a protective effect against overweight and obesity. Healthy food choices, along with PA, should be advocated to improve adolescent health by encouraging maintenance of a healthy weight into adulthood.

Keywords: adolescents; body mass index; food choice; gender; overweight/obese; physical activity


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About the article

Received: 2017-04-20

Accepted: 2017-06-29

Published Online: 2017-11-23

Declaration of interest: Authors disclose no conflict of interest.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170067, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0067.

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