Weight Status, Medication Use, and Recreational Activities of Treatment-Naïve Transgender Youth.

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DOI: 10.1089/chi.2021.0155


Background: Studies of transgender/gender diverse (TGD) youth indicate a high prevalence of overweight/obesity and concern for unhealthy weight management behavior. This study describes the association of weight status with medication use and recreational activities among treatment-naïve, pediatric TGD patients. Methods: This study is a chart review of 277 patients [aged 9-18 years, 79.1% female sex assigned at birth (SAB), and 86.3% white] seen at a medical center from 2017 to 2020. BMI was calculated by age and SAB using CDC growth charts. BMI percentile (BMI%) and BMI z-score (BMIz) were used to define weight status. Results: By BMI% category, 3.6% patients were in the underweight range (BMI 85%; and 30.3% had BMI >95%. Overweight and obesity rates were higher than national norms (χ2 = 15.152, p < 0.01). Female SAB participants had higher BMIz values than male SAB participants. Youth who reported watching/listening to media (t = 3.50, p < 0.01) and parent-reported creative arts involvement (t = 1.97, p = 0.05) were associated with higher BMIz values. Conversely, spending time with friends and family was associated with a lower BMIz. Over half of the patients were prescribed medications, and those patients taking medications had higher BMIz values than those not taking medications (t = -1.96, p < 0.05). Female SAB, involvement in sedentary recreational activities, and taking medications to treat gastrointestinal conditions were associated with elevated BMIz. Conclusions: Overweight/obesity is a common problem among TGD youth. TGD youth should be considered a high-risk group and targeted in obesity prevention and treatment efforts. Interventions to decrease sedentary activities and improve connections with friends and family are promising strategies to address overweight and obesity among TGD youth.

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Child Obes





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Body Mass Index; Child; Female; Growth Charts; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Male; Overweight; Pediatric Obesity; Transgender Persons


BMI; gender dysphoria; obesity; overweight; transgender

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