The risks of developing obesity in adolesence

Posted on: October 18th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments


Do you know that childhood obesity has tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years? From a record of 5%, there's an 18% increase in the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who are obese during the said period. 

Being overweight or obese poses a lot of risks and difficulties for a lot of people. However, it becomes even more problematic during the awkward stage of adolescence.  While there's the problem in the social and psychological aspects like stigmatization and poor self-esteem of the adolescent, obesity also has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being which include the following:

  • cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • the risk of having pre-diabetes which is a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes
  • bone and joint problems
  • sleeping disorders like apnea
  • higher risk for adult health problems (heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis )

Obesity can become a lifelong battle for the youth. But this can also be prevented, managed and treated.  Here are some practical ways how:

  • Introduce a weight-management program – the idea is to have a plan on how to lose the weight slowly but surely. It is important that the adolescent is willing to submit himself or herself to a program. It would also help if the program interests him or her.

    As a family, develop a comprehensive plan which would include reasonable weight loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification, and family involvement.

    When a child or adolescent with obesity also has emotional problems, a child and adolescent psychiatrist can work with your family physician regarding the program.

  • Develop a healthy eating habit slowly – An obese adolescent must learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and this should start at home. Food advertisement can be so enticing but when these types of food are not easily accessible at home, there will a greater chance of developing a healthier eating habit.
  • Engage in physical activity and establish a more active lifestyle – the only way to lose weight is to decrease the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity. Energy in equals energy out.

    To achieve a long lasting weight loss, the adolescent must develop his or her self-motivation. However, it is of great importance that the family is behind him or her since obesity often affects more than one family member. A family activity can improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent.

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield/

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