Study shows oral contraceptive use by young women does not contribute to weight gain

Young women have lost one excuse in their battle against the post-adolescent bulge.

Penn State College of Medicine researchers at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center recently published the results of a new, long-term study showing that oral contraceptive use during adolescence is not associated with weight gain or increased body fat.

"Until now, most of the major studies on the effects of oral contraceptive use have looked at women aged 20 and over," said Tom Lloyd, Ph.D., principle investigator on the study, professor of health evaluation sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, and director of the Penn State Young Women's Health Study. "This study provides new information about the effects of oral contraceptive use on adolescents and young women."

The study, titled "Oral Contraceptive Use by Teenage Women Does Not Affect Body Composition," was published in the August 2002 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology

"Oral contraceptives prevent pregnancy the same way in teenage women as they do in adult women," said Richard Legro, M.D., co-investigator and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Penn State College of Medicine. "However, we know very little about how a teenager's metabolism may be affected by oral contraceptive use. Because young women's bodies change so much during adolescence, we felt it was important to understand whether using oral contraceptives during these developmental years causes metabolic and physiologic changes."

This study is part of the Penn State Young Women's Health Study which is an ongoing observational study begun in 1990 with the enrollment of 112 healthy female adolescents who are representative of Caucasian females attending public schools in Pennsylvania. The Penn State researchers continue to follow the natural progression of cardiovascular, reproductive and bone health in these women.

The oral contraceptive study involved 66 females, 39 of which used or

Contact: Valerie Gliem
Penn State

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