OBESITY IN TEENS

Around 17% of the children and teenagers are obese. Obesity in one of the earliest medical conditions to recognise but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 3,00,000 deaths each year. Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise.

WHAT IS OBESITY?

A few extra pounds doesn’t suggest obesity. However they may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for change of diet and exercise. Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10% higher than what is recommended for their height and body type. Obesity mostly begins at the age of 5 or 6 or during adolescence. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult.

WHAT CAUSES OBESITY?

The causes of obesity are complex and include biological, behavioural and cultural factors. Obesity usually occurs when a person eats more than the calories he burns. If one parent is obese there’s a 50% chance that his child will also become one. However when both parents are obese there’s an 80% chance the child will also be obese.

Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

  • Poor eating habits
  • Overeating or binging
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family history of obesity
  • Stressful life events
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression or other emotional problems
  • Peer problems

COMPLICATIONS OF OBESITY:

There are many risks and complications with obesity. Physical consequences include:

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Joint pain
  • Hormonal changes

Child and adolescent obesity is also associated with increased risk of emotional problems. Teens with weight problem tend to have much lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers. Depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder can also occur.

WAYS TO MANAGE OBESITY:

  • Change eating habits
  • Eat slowly
  • Increase physical activity
  • Do not use food as a reward
  • Limit snacking
  • Control portions and consume less calories

Therefore, obesity being the most common problem among the teens should be dealt with in the proper fashion and rightly. It has to be looked into as to which of the above mentioned reins are actually responsible for obesity among todays kids and treated according by their physician or dietician with the proper flow of vitamins, mineral and nutrients.