THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For youth with or at risk for overweight, weight-based teasing (WBT) is associated with a greater gain in body mass index (BMI) and fat mass, according to a study published online May 30 in Pediatric Obesity.

Natasha A. Schvey, Ph.D., from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the correlations between WBT and changes in BMI and fat. A total of 110 individuals (mean age at baseline, 11.8 years) with or at risk for overweight participated in a longitudinal study. At baseline, participants were administered the Perception of Teasing Scale.

The researchers found that WBT was associated with a greater gain in BMI and fat mass across the follow-up period after adjustment for covariates and repeated measures of BMI or fat mass. Relative to their peers who reported no WBT, youth reporting high WBT were predicted to gain an additional 0.20 kg/m² in BMI and 0.65 kg fat mass/year.

“As adolescence marks a critical period for the study of weight gain, it will be important to further explore the effects of WBT and weight-related pressures on indices of weight and health throughout development and to identify both risk and protective factors,” the authors write. “The present findings, if replicated in other samples, may provide a foundation upon which to initiate clinical pediatric interventions to determine whether reducing WBT affects weight and fat gain trajectory.”

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