Essay: Delinquency Biological Factors and Juvenile

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[. . .] Thus, there is a strong indication that there is a biological 'profile' for adolescents of an addictive, risk-seeing personality which can put their health at risk. The evidence supports the notion that the biological effects of the drugs themselves are not causing the weight gain. Even cigarette smoking, which is usually associated as a weight loss strategy amongst adults was associated with higher BMIs in students as they progressed through school.

It has also been noted that addiction fundamentally alters the brain, and the adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to influence from the dangers of substance abuse. A risk-seeking personality may drive an adolescent to use drugs and 'act out.' Once the inhibitory mechanisms are lowered and the need to replicate the high of using after drugs has been sharpened, the adolescent may turn to food as another coping mechanism to replicate the highs of addiction.

The authors do not deny that environmental factors, like access to healthy foods and places to exercise have no impact upon weight gain. However, certain individuals are more sensitive to obesity-promoting factors in the environment based upon their genetic profile. Similarly, some individuals are more prone to addiction and aggressive behavior, based upon biological vulnerabilities which they possess. The evidence suggests that there is a strong link in terms of the genetic profile of persons who are highly vulnerable to a variety of addictive behaviors. Even when controlling for socioeconomic status, the association of substance abuse and BMI remained strong. More evidence is needed about how the genes and a vulnerability to addiction function in relationship to the environment to help persons suffering from addiction, or ideally -- prevent it.


Pasch, K.E., Velazquez, C.E., Cance, J.D., Moe, S.G., & Lytle, L.A. (2012). Youth

substance use and body composition: Does risk in one area predict risk in the other? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(1), 14-26. doi: [END OF PREVIEW]

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