Obesity

Dangerous Teenage Obesity Risks

There are just as many health risks to obese and overweight teens as there are for obese and overweight adults.  The problem of childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States with nearly 17 percent of teens between the ages of 12 to 19 years being overweight, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.   Children who are overweight are much more likely to become obese/overweight adults and carry their health problems through life unless they are taught to adopt and maintain healthier eating and exercise habits.  Teenage obesity risks are a major concern because of the serious health risks associated with it. Teenage Obesity

Health risks related to overweight/obesity in teens:

Elevated Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure:

Overweight or obese teens can develop very high lipid levels including total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides.  These higher then normal levels can result in a higher risk for heart related health problems such as heart attack and stroke.  Hypertension or high blood pressure is also common for these teens and can also be a precursor to heart related issues.

Skeletal and Growth Problems:

Another risk for overweight or obese teens is the development of joint and bone problems. Excessive weight causes deformity of the lower legs and can also cause abnormal tears in the joints, which can result in degenerative arthritis at a young age. Obese teenagers are at higher risk of developing femoral epiphysis, which is a painful condition of the hips.  If a child is in pain or discomfort they will be less likely to want to be active.

Respiratory Problems:

Obesity can lead to respiratory disorders such as sleep apnea and/or asthma. Breathing problems are commonly found in overweight or obese teens, which makes it even more difficult for them to want to participate in physical activity or sports as they suffer from shortness of breath. Sleep apnea can cause sleep disturbances at night and if not properly managed can cause a whole host of health issues.

Diabetes:

Excessive body fat can affect the body’s ability to properly use insulin to process glucose. This results in insulin resistance that can slowly progress into type 2 diabetes in overweight or obese teens.

Emotional and Psychological Problems:

Obese teens are often less popular among their peer groups and are at a higher risk of developing psychological problems such as anxiety, low self esteem, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Feelings of negativity can greatly affect their mental and emotional health.

Adult Obesity:

Many studies including one by researcher Dr. Robert C. Whitaker, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that teens that are obese usually remain obese into adulthood. Nearly 70 to 80 percent of obese teenagers remain as obese adults.

These are only a few of the health and mental risks related to teenagers who are overweight or obese.  These can be serious problems and unless children and teens are taught to change their eating and lifestyle habits permanently and the root of their problem is found they will continue to be at risk for severe health problems.  If you know your child or teen is overweight see your child’s physician to take steps in helping them to lead a healthier and happier life.

References

Why Being Overweight Is A Health Problem: http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/obesity.html

Obesity in Children and Teens: http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/obesity_in_children_and_teens

Teen Health: http://teens.webmd.com/just-for-teens-are-you-overweight?page=3

Obesity’s Impact On Teen Health: : http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/obesity/pages/Obesitys-Impact-on-Teen-Health.aspx

Teen and Childhood Obesity: http://www.obesityhelp.com/forums/teen_wls/cmsID,11323/mode,content/a,cms/

Tips for Parents – Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/ Basics About Childhood Obesity: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html

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