Obesity refers to excessive accumulation of fat in the body which will then lead to increase in body weight. According to standards of the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as BMI equal to or greater than 25 kg/m2.  Today, approximately 12.7 million (17%) of children and adolescents in the United States are obese. The trend of obesity in teens is on the rise as today, more so than in the past. It is turning into a global economic, social as well as health burden. Here we tell you all you need to know about obesity in teen youths.

What is causing obesity in teen youths?

When people consume more calories than they are burning, there occurs fat accumulation. In today’s era, people’s lifestyle is improving- but this is a two sided coin. Teens today are consuming many kinds of fast foods and other junk foods. Along with that, with online social networking sites and games, we find that teens spend much more time on their phones and laptops rather than outdoors. So the physical inactivity coupled with overeating and binging is the main cause.

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Television is replacing sports today. (source: teens.lovetoknow.com)

In addition to all of this, genetics, family history, biological, social and cultural factors are also contributory. Today, life is much more fast-paced and there is a lot of competition in all aspects of life. Along with the confusion, family and peer problems during adolescence, this too causes a lot of stress in teens. Teens then resort to overeating and procrastination in order to get through this, which again can lead to obesity. Other medical disorders (neurologic, endocrinal, and mental) and medications such as steroids and some psychiatric medications may also contribute.

Is it important to control teenage obesity?

Keeping weight is check is very important! (source: dailyexpress.com)

If you haven’t already guessed, yes! It is. Teenage obesity can have various social, emotional, physical and mental complications. So it is essential that you make sure your child, niece, friend or you yourself (if you are a teen) work to keep weight in check.

What are these complications of teenage obesity?

Teens suffering from obesity are more likely to have obesity even when they are adults. Childhood obesity can increase risks of heart diseases in the future. It can also cause hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Added to that, hormonal misbalances can also occur as a result of teenage obesity. Furthermore, breathing problems and sleep disorders can also result due to this. And let us not forget the major emotional and mental impact that teenage obesity can cause. These can range from anxiety, OCDs and depression. A major lack of self-esteem also is a problem in obese teens today, because today’s era is one that idolizes models’ and actors’ pictures on Instagram.

How can obesity in teens be managed?

The best way to go forward is to get a consultation with a pediatrician or the physician in order to consider all the possible causes that may be leading to obesity.

Taking up a group activity is a great way for weight loss! (source: The Irish Times)

If there are any organic causes, work on eliminating those. If there is no other cause identified, it is a good idea to reduce calorie intake and increase physical activity. It will be difficult to completely cut down on the calories. So do it little by little each day. Keep a good diary and plan a good food selection that is delicious but not as unhealthy. Advice teens to take up group physical activities or to attend the gym with a friend for added motivation. If nothing seems to work, you can always become a part of support groups such as Overeaters Anonymous. Although it is difficult, it is not impossible. So keep supporting teens around you, because step by step, it will become a reality.

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