ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. study debunks the myth that younger moms are more likely to "bounce back" after a baby -- teens moms are more likely to become obese, researchers say.
Dr. Tammy Chang of the University of Michigan Health System and colleagues found women who give birth as teens were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese later in life than women who were not teen moms.
"When taking care of teen moms, we often have so many immediate concerns -- child care, housing, school, social and financial support -- that we don't often think of the long-term health effects of teen pregnancy," Chang, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "For the first time, we've identified our youngest moms as a high risk group for obesity, which we know to be one of the most debilitating, long-term health issues we face."
The researchers used data from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and controlled for factors such as race, education and socio-economic indicators.
The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found women who had first given birth between the ages 13-19 had a 32 percent higher risk of obesity than women who had given birth at age 20 or later.
Despite declines in the last two decades, teen pregnancy rates in the United States continue to be one of the highest in the developed world.