(SCIENCEDAILY) — Obese white teenage girls who lose weight may benefit physically, but the weight change does not guarantee they are going to feel better about themselves, according to a Purdue University study.

“We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” said Sarah A. Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology who studies obesity in childhood and adolescence. “Further, obese white girls had lower self-esteem than their normal-weight peers and their self-esteem remained flat even as they transitioned out of obesity.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 17 percent of American children ages 2-19 are obese.

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