Background: There is an increasing adolescent population with severe obesity with impairments in social and romantic relationships that are seeking clinical weight management, including weight loss surgery (WLS). Objective: To document romantic, sexual and sexual risk behaviours in a clinical sample of adolescent females with severe obesity (BMI > 40 kg/m2) compared to those of healthy weight (HW). Methods: This multi-site study—an ancillary to a prospective longitudinal observational study documenting health in adolescents having WLS—presents pre-operative/baseline data from 108 females undergoing WLS, 68 severely obese seeking lifestyle intervention and 118 of HW. Romantic and sexual risk behaviour and birth control information sources were assessed using the Sexual Activities and Attitudes Questionnaire (SAAQ). Results: Severely obese females reported engaging in fewer romantic and sexual behaviours compared to HW. Similar to HW, a subgroup (25%) of severely females were engaging in higher rates of sexual risk behaviours and reported pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A considerable number (28–44%) reported receiving no birth control information from physicians. Conclusions: Discussion topics with the adolescent patient should extend beyond reproductive health needs (e.g. contraception, unintended pregnancies) to include guidance around navigating romantic and sexual health behaviours that are precursors to these outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Health Policy
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health