Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, researcher Jeremy Arkes, compared young people's body mass indices (BMI) to unemployment rates from the years 1997 to 2004. Arkes found that for every one percent rise in unemployment, there was a 1.8 percent rise in BMI percentile among girls ages 15 to 18 years old. The opposite was true for males, who tended to lose weight when unemployment rates increased.
Regardless of the cause of their weight gains, stressful times can be difficult for overweight children and teens, who may already be dealing with a number of weight-related physical and psychological challenges.
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