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Open Access Association between Weight and Smoking Not Mediated by Weight Loss Attempts or Bullying

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Objectives: Youth smoking and obesity may both be mediated by weight control behaviors and experiences of bullying. This study examines associations between smoking and obesity among youth, and explores whether associations are mediated by weight loss attempts or bullying experiences. Methods: Data from 24,173 grade 9 to 12 students in the COMPASS study (2012-13) were used to examine the prevalence of self-reported smoking, weight status, attempting to lose weight, and being a victim of bullying. Generalized linear mixed effects models were used to examine correlates of smoking. Results: Among youth, 11% reported currently smoking, 20% were overweight or obese, 42% reported attempting to lose weight, and 18% reported being bullied. Girls who reported attempting to lose weight had higher odds of smoking (OR = 1.42, p = .0039), and students who reported being bullied had higher odds of smoking (OR = 1.85, p < .0001). Both variables were significantly associated with smoking independent of weight status. Conclusions: For girls, weight loss attempts were associated with smoking. For both sexes, being bullied was associated with smoking, independent of weight status. Programs attempting to reduce smoking among youth should consider the effects of weight control behaviors and bullying irrespective of weight status.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. [email protected] 2: School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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