The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 12, 2019

Adolescent BMI: The Importance of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Molly Jacobs*
Department of Health Sciences Information and Management, College of Allied Health Science, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd. Mail Stop 668, Health Sciences Building 4340E, Greenville, NC 27834, USA



Research shows that weight trends in adolescence persist into adulthood, but do the same factors contribute to weight in adolescence as in adulthood? Are extrinsic factors presumably more important than intrinsic characteristics? This study identifies the correlation between BMI and various intrinsic and extrinsic factors and evaluates their relative importance in BMI development. It compares the primary determinants for adolescents (12-20 years old) and adults (21+ years old).


Using 15 years of panel data, generalized linear models, we assessed the impact of extrinsic-environmental, biological, geographic and household-and intrinsic-sexual activity, substance use, desire to lose weight, etc.-characteristics on adolescent and adult BMI. Multinomial logit models tested the contribution of these characteristics to weight categories.


Race and age were the most significant BMI correlates at all ages. This remains true for weight classification as well. For young adolescents, intrinsic factors are highly deterministic, while extrinsic factors play no role. As adolescents age into adults, intrinsic factors continue to be deterministic, while extrinsic covariates also emerge as deterministic. Intrinsic determinates of significance include age of first sexual encounter, tobacco experimentation, perspective on general health, and desire to lose weight (or stay the same weight).


While biological/genetic attributes are the largest determinants of BMI at every age, intrinsic factors play a larger role in adolescent BMI development than adults. As individuals age, intrinsic determinants remain important, but extrinsic characteristics contribute significantly to weight classification. Thus, the weight determinants differ between adolescents and adults suggesting different methods of policy intervention be used for adolescents and adults.

Keywords: Obesity, Adolescence, BMI, Mother, Intrinsic factors, Extrinsic factors, Multinomial logit models.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 147
Last Page: 161
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-11-147
DOI: 10.2174/1874944501811010147

Article History:

Received Date: 11/12/2017
Revision Received Date: 5/4/2018
Acceptance Date: 13/4/2018
Electronic publication date: 30/04/2018
Collection year: 2018

Article Metrics:

CrossRef Citations:

Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1313
Abstract HTML Views: 1009
PDF Downloads: 337
ePub Downloads: 273
Total Views/Downloads: 2932

Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 697
Abstract HTML Views: 472
PDF Downloads: 235
ePub Downloads: 180
Total Views/Downloads: 1584
Geographical View

© 2018 Molly Jacobs.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Sciences Information and Management, College of Allied Health Science, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd. Mail Stop 668, Health Sciences Building 4340E, Greenville, NC 27834, USA; Tel: 252-744-6182; E-mail:


"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."

Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."

Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."

Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."

Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."

Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."

Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."

Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."

J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."

Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."

Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."

Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."

Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."

Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."

M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."

Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."

Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."

Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."

Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."

Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."

Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)

Browse Contents

Webmaster Contact:
Copyright © 2019 Bentham Open