$466,642 Federal Study: Why Do Fat Girls Date Less and Risk More?

By Melanie Arter | December 4, 2014 | 3:36 PM EST

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded $466,642 in taxpayer dollars to Magee-Women’s Research Institute and Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pa., to study and compare the intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls.

“Mounting evidence demonstrates that weight influences intimate (i.e., dating and sexual) relationship formation and sexual negotiations among adolescent girls. Obese girls consistently report having fewer dating and sexual experiences, but more sexual risk behaviors (i.e., condom nonuse) once they are sexually active,” the grant abstract said.

“No studies have actually examined whether the interpersonal skills and intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls differ,” it said.

The project will use information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, conducted between 1994 and 2008, and the Pittsburgh Girls Study, an ongoing study which began in 2000.

The goals of the project are “to (1) determine whether obese adolescent girls experience a delay in the development of peer and intimate relationship skills compared to non-obese adolescent girls; (2) compare the characteristics of intimate relationships among obese and non-obese adolescent girls; (3) use longitudinal growth curve modeling to determine whether trajectories of romantic and sexual relationship characteristics differ between obese and non-obese adolescent girls over time; (4) determine how peer and intimate relationship skills affect trajectories of intimate relationships among obese and non-obese adolescent girls over time; and (5) compare the development of interpersonal skills and intimate relationship characteristics between obese and non-obese African American and White adolescent girls.”

The overarching goal of the research is “to expand the conceptual framework linking weight to adolescent sexual risk-taking thereby providing critical information useful for tailoring adolescent sexual risk-reduction interventions and sexual negotiation skills building programs.”

CNSNews.com attempted to contact Aletha Akers, project leader for the grant, by email for comment, but no comment was provided before publication.