One of the most significant concerns for American children is the high rate of obesity in those under the age of 18 years old. While obese teenagers have higher rates of depression and are more likely to become a victim of heart disease or diabetes, a new study may have found another risk factor that needs to be considered when evaluating a teenager who is suffering from the consequences of being at an unhealthy weight.
According to a study that was recently completed by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, obese high school students who consume alcohol or take illegal drugs will take them at far higher levels than a student who is in good physical condition. Previously it was believed that because of social isolation, an obese student would be far less likely to take illegal drugs than a student with a healthy weight. However, the study also found that obese students take drugs and alcohol at about the same rate as their healthier counterparts.
While it is not yet known why obese teens tend to take more drugs and alcohol, the researchers have stated that physicians should never just assume that an overweight teenager would not be at risk for drug or alcohol abuse.