Teen's Social Class Affects Weight

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By Cile Waller

Teenagers' waist sizes may be measured by their family's social class. A new study reveals how a teen's attitude toward diet, health and weight are influenced by their social background.

Middle class families tend focus on the future of their children's health, expecting kids to stay an “acceptable weight" in order to eventually participate in an active adult lifestyle. In the study, middle class parents expressed concerns that obesity could lead to an unhealthy life, poor self-esteem and a lack of future life opportunities.

Working class homes showed a different set of priorities. Everyday struggles took priority over body image. While there was still a desire for a healthy diet and lifestyle, abilities and funds to support this lifestyle were limited.

Study results show eating habits and food choices varied among the classes, affecting teen's weights. Middle class parents were more likely to monitor their teen's daily food choices, while working class teens were more likely to make their own meal choices and take responsibility for their own health care.

SOURCE: ESRC Society Today, 2009

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