U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Overweight and Obesity Among Maltreated Young Adolescents

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 36 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2012 Pages: 370-378
Janet U. Schneiderman; Ferol E. Mennen; Sonya Negriff; Penelope K. Trickett
Date Published
April 2012
9 pages
This study explored the association between high rates of obesity in maltreated and non-maltreated young adolescents.
Findings from the study include the following: while prevalence rates of obesity were similar between the maltreated young adolescents, 27.1 percent, and the comparison young adolescents, 34.4 percent, the comparison group of adolescents were 1.7 times more likely to be overweight or obese compared to the maltreated adolescents; and the comparison group of adolescents, the presence of depression slightly increased the odds of overweight/obesity compared to the maltreated youth. The study also found that being neglected slightly reduced the odds of being obese, as did the presence of sexual and physical abuse for female adolescents. The primary purpose of the study was to examine the association between high rates of obesity on maltreated and non-maltreated young adolescents. Data for the study were obtained from a sample of maltreated young adolescents (n=303) who were referred to the child welfare department in Los Angeles, and a comparison sample (n=151) of non-maltreated youth. The data was analyzed to determine the rate of obesity among the maltreated group, and whether demographic and psychological characteristics were related to body mass index levels over 85 percent. The findings indicate that while both groups of young adolescents had high prevalence rates of overweight and obesity, being maltreated reduced the odds of having a high body mass index. Directions for future research are discussed. Tables and references