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Background and purpose: As the incidence of global obesity increases, concerns about adverse health outcomes in adolescents continues to rise. The complexity and expense of this problem require early recognition and specific preventive treatments. Knowledge of genetics and determinants of food choices contributing to adolescent obesity warrants further examination. The primary goal was to appraise the literature from the past decade (2007–2017) on the current state of food choice and genetic determinants of adolescent overweight/obesity in the United States. The secondary goal was to determine trends in the literature and areas for future research.

Methods: A systematic review of research studies in the United States from 2007 to 2017 was completed. Database searches were conducted using CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, PubMed, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, Web of Science, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Library. A total of 535 studies were selected. Of these, 283 studies focused on determinants of food choices and 165 studies focused on genetic factors.

Conclusions: A total of 41 full-text articles included in this literature review contained studies limited exclusively to adolescents. Stress factors related to food choices demonstrated a new trend being explored. The need for precision health, the application of genetic information, could uncover ways food choices affect adolescent obesity.

Implications for practice: The etiology of adolescent obesity requires that nurses gain knowledge of genetics and food choice determinants to inform personalized treatments for adolescents, which may establish effective interventions that promote healthy weight achievement.


This work was originally published in Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, available at DOI 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000154

This article is distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) License 4.0 (



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