Effects of Teenage Obesity

In a study that appears in the July 18, 2006 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine researchers, show that being overweight at age 18 is associated with an increased risk of premature death in younger and middle-aged women.

The direct effects of obesity in teenagers are clear and well established. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (formerly adult onset diabetes); Hypertension and predisposition for cardiac disease; Sleep apnea; Asthma; Gallbladder disease; Kidney disease; Pancreatitis; Eye diseases; Nerve damage; Various gastrointestinal disorders; Hormonal disorders; Various skeletal and orthopedic problems.

Obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe with earlier onset of co-morbidities and there could be 80% increase in incidence of obesity in adulthood and psycho-social problems (depression and low self-esteem).

The percentage of hospital discharges for adolescent obesity-related diseases has doubled over the past 20 years. The annual cost of hospital care for these overweight young people has more than tripled, to more than 100 million dollars. The number of deaths in the United States attributed annually to adult obesity is estimated at 280,000, and total annual costs attributable to obesity-related disease approach $100 billion.

Teen obesity statistics are a little frightening and it overshadows other problems that teens face today. Teens dealing with teen obesity also face discrimination. In the long run, discrimination can damage self esteem. As body constitutes a part of an individual’s personality, teens become conscious of attaining a particular statistics with which they can pass for an attractive personality. Teens are very sensitive and as they are not equipped to handle social pressures they may be ashamed of their over-sized bodies in public and it takes them years to come to terms with the fact that it is not really wrong being obese and that obesity can be corrected with professional support.

Emphasis on slimness creates a sense of low self esteem in overweight teens which keeps them from joining many activities with other teens. Low self-esteem leads to self pity and low self-confidence. This leads to withdrawal from group activities. As a result they become lonely and may also suffer from depression which can lead to a vicious circle of staying at home watching TV, snacking frequently, putting on more weight and finally undermining themselves.

Obese teens may try to engage in some activities for some time and try to go on diet but soon they bounce back to their old habits. This makes them feel powerless.

In a study, it was found that teenagers who are either underweight or obese are likely to have fewer children in adulthood.

Particularly a high percentage of children struggling with obesity are girls who become clinically depressed as a result of a preoccupation with being overweight. Boys tend to remain physical for a long time while girls, after they reach their teens, are less likely to be found engaged in vigorous physical activities. As a result girls tend to be more obese than boys.

How to Inhibit Effects of Teenage Obesity ?

Depression, Fatigue and Physical illnesses are some of the most common effects of Teenage obesity. With vigilance and guidance parents can identify these adverse affects. The teenager can be motivated to lead a disciplined life and be strongly resolved to lose weight.


Parents require empathy to win the trust of their children primarily. They can provide hope to them in the second stage of counselling. In the final stage, the teenager should be given choice and allowed to take a decision independently.


Obese children should not be allowed to lead an isolated and sedentary life style. They should be assigned some tasks with rewards. The rewards should not be in the form of additional pocket money, chocolates or cakes. The severity of the tasks should be increased in a phase-wise manner.

Physical Illnesses:

Obese children have less ability to fight against infections and other illnesses. Given timely and healthy food cooked at home and planning a daily fitness regime for them can naturally increase their immunity.