Acne risk higher for overweight teen girls

January 25, 2012

Teenage girls who are obese or overweight are significantly more likely to develop acne than their normal-weight peers, a new Norwegian survey suggests.

Oslo, Norway - Teenage girls who are obese or overweight are significantly more likely to develop acne than their normal-weight peers, a new Norwegian survey suggests.

A research team led by Jon Anders Halvorsen, M.D., of the department of dermatology at Oslo University Hospital, conducted a survey of about 3,600 Norwegians ages 18 to 19 to determine whether a link exists between acne and obesity. None of the participants was seeking medical care at the study’s launch. All provided their weight and height, and all reported on whether they had had pimples - and to what degree - the week prior to the study. Other questions related to drinking or smoking, history of mental distress, and dietary habits, especially regarding sugar, chocolate, raw vegetables, fatty fish and potato chips.

Overweight was defined as having a body mass index of at least 25, obesity as a BMI of 30 and above. Just under 10 percent of the females and just over 15 percent of the males were deemed overweight; fewer than 40 percent of either gender were classified as obese.

About 13 percent of all the females were found to have acne. Of the females who qualified as either overweight or obese, however, 19 percent had acne. As for the males, between 13 and 14 percent had acne regardless of their weight.

After accounting for an array of other possible factors that might affect acne risk, investigators concluded that excess weight is associated with acne risk among teenage girls but not among boys. Reporting on the survey, HealthDay News noted that though the study revealed an association between excess weight and acne, it does not prove cause and effect.

The survey results appear in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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