The Distribution and Determinants of Overweight Among Adolescents in the Intermountain West

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Utah's Health: An Annual Review

Publication Date



University of Utah



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Extant research shows that the prevalence of overweight among adolescents in the Intermountain West is low relative to other regions of the U.S., but there is currently a lack of research that explores regional differences within the Intermountain West. Consequently, we used data from 17,849 adolescents in the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for seven states in the Intermountain West to examine the distribution and determinants of overweight in this part of the nation. Our results demonstrated that the prevalence of overweight was significantly lower among adolescents in Utah (5.61%) than among adolescents in every other state in the Intermountain West, particularly New Mexico (11.99%) and Arizona (11.86%). Also, results from a series of logistic regression analyses showed that demographic composition, nutritional behaviors, physical activities and a handful of other factors (e.g., depression and television viewing) accounted for most of the significant differences observed between states among female (but not male) adolescents. Although further research on adolescent overweight in the Intermountain West is warranted, findings from the present study suggest that policies designed to (1) limit poverty, (2) encourage physical activity (and discourage television viewing), and (3) monitor depression among adolescent girls could help mitigate disparities in adolescent overweight between states in the Intermountain West.


Originally published by the University of Utah. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.