Teenage Obesity

According to latest research findings teenage obesity in America is increasing drastically. The rates at which teenage obesity is increasing are stunning. About 15% or,to give the exact figure, 9 million teens in America below 15 years of age are obese. This figure is almost three times the teen obesity figures in the year 1980.
Morbid obesity has also become a common issue in the United States of America. More than three lakh people die of obesity and weight related issues every year.

Causes of Teen Obesity:

There are several teenage obesity causes. The main reasons for teenage obesity are – overeating, less activity or inactivity and excess TV viewing. If a teen eats and drinks more than the body needs, the excess energy stores in the form of body fat. And, added to this, if the teen is not doing enough regular exercise, it worsens the problem. Many studies have shown that teens, who have a television in their bedrooms, have the tendency to watch it more. This leads to inactivity, the main culprit of teenage obesity.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that cultural influences, genetics, biology and personal behaviours contribute to morbid obesity among teenagers. If one of the parents is obese then the teenager has a 50% chances to become obese again.

childhood obesity in America

How to Prevent Teen Obesity?

One has to work on the causes of teenage obesity. This offers the solutions to treat the teen obesity problem. Eat healthy diet. Avoid eating fast food and junk food, which is a common tendency during teenage. Do regular exercise. It’s important not just to avoid obesity but also to stay active throughout the day. Teens should involve themselves in many activities throughout the day, which require them to be active. And, avoid watching TV or using computer for longer durations.

Dietary Changes

  • Avoidance of junk food and drinking lots of water are the two factors which are recommended for any effective weight loss plans for teens.
  • Go for green leafy vegetables rather than eating junk food.
  • Fast foods and processed foods should be strictly avoided. Also, food which contains sugar and fats in it should not be consumed.
  • One of the causes of obesity is excess intake of carbohydrates. One of the best weight loss diet for teens is the vegetable diet. Replace carbohydrates with naturally occuring proteins.
  • In order to reduce weight, one must eat food which are rich in fiber such as fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. It acts as a natural appetite suppressant.
  • Fish that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as tuna and salmon also helps in improving metabolism, thus resulting in weight loss.

Exercises

  • One of the most effective way to lose weight is doing exercise regularly.
  • At least 30 minutes of cardio workout such as walking, swimming, skating, playing outdoor games or running on treadmill help teens to reduce weight easily.
  • Cardio workouts significantly increases the metabolism, resulting in burning extra calories.
  • Swimming and walking both are effective exercises to reduce weight.
  • Teens should spend time playing outdoor games such as tennis, soccer, hockey and football.

Parents’ Role in Teen Obesity

All children tend to develop the habits which are followed by their parents. So parents have to play a better role in avoiding the obesity problem by guiding them to have healthy dietary habits and do regular exercise. Several research studies show that a well balanced diet and food that rank low in glycemic index scale are helpful in reducing teenage obesity.

Parents should keep in mind that it’s not reprimanding the child about being overweight rather guiding them on how to reduce weight, that can really help. They should explain the importance of losing weight and paint a positive image for their teen children. Leading by example is very important. It’s the parents only that can help the teens live happy normal lives.

Watch the video below to get a real time account on the different aspects of obesity among teens.

What are the Three Effects of Obesity?

The following are the three effects of obesity:

  • Obesity can lead to chronic diseases such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure etc.
  • Obesity can affect a person’s physical ability to a great extent. An obese person would find it difficult to walk, run and do tasks which involve physical effort.
  • Obesity can make a person depressed. It can also cause psychological distress, isolation, low self-esteem, and negative self-image.?

How Serious is the Issue Teenage Obesity?

Teenage is an important phase of our lives. It involves several physical and psychological changes in the body. A teenager experiences radical changes in perceptions everyday. Lack of maturity places teenagers in a state of confusion. They feel vulnerable from inside. But the growing sense of the concept of ego stops them from seeking help even from their parents.
Expectations of parents and peer pressure further worsen their situation. Self discipline and a strong resolve are required to shed body weight. But the low self esteem of the obese teenagers do not allow them to develop such a positive mind set. As development of a healthy self esteem is hampered in teenage, a large number of insecurities plague the mind of these individuals in their later years. In short, if the menace of teenage obesity is not addressed in teenage itself, its serious consequences affect the adult life of these individuals too.

To learn how skipping breakfast enhances teenage obesity, read our article Skipping Breakfast enhances teen obesity.