Obesity is a serious health condition involving an excessive amount of body fat. Adolescent obesity can cause some complications including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cancer, sleep disorder, and high blood cholesterol. There is a difference between obesity and overweight, overweight people have BMI greater than or equal to 25 while the BMI of obese people is greater than or equal to 30.
Generally, adults with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 consider as a healthy weight, 25 to 29.9 are overweight, 30 to 39.9 means obesity and BMI 40 or above are count as severely obese.
Generally, it is not completely understood why body gain weight and body fat but it seems if a person consumes more calories than the energy he/she expands so he/she will gain weight. There are some other risk factors for adolescent obesity such as:
- Lifestyle. Overeating along with choosing the high calories foods contributes to obesity. Eating high fat and sugary foods can lead to obesity. On the other hand, lack of regular exercise for adults and inactivity in children causes obesity.
- Metabolic factors. Not everyone expends energy same as others because hormonal and metabolic factors are not the same for everyone.
- Genetics. According to different studies, obesity can be inherited but only one gene is not responsible for obesity.
- Socioeconomic factors. Researchers found that there is a relationship between economic status and obesity, especially among women. Poor women of lower social status are more likely to be obese than women of higher socioeconomic status.
- Age. Although obesity can occur at any age even in childhood, as you age, change in hormone and less active lifestyle may cause obesity.
- Pregnancy. Increasing weight during pregnancy is unavoidable. But it is difficult for some women to lose weight after delivery.
Complications associated with adolescent obesity
- According to a study of the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of dying before age 55 as well as illness or self-inflicted injury is twice for obese adolescents.
- Obese children will develop health problems in 40-60 years old if they don’t change their lifestyle. Generally, they may have 10-20 years’ shorter life span.
- About 80 percent of obese adolescents (age 15-17) had elevated C-Reactive protein level and a blood marker for inflammation that is a warning sign for possible future heart disease.
- Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes, even moderate obesity.
- When knees and hips have to carry the stress placed on the joint because of extra weight, it may lead to joint problems like osteoarthritis.
- If in culture the ideal of physical attractiveness is to be overly thin, the obese people usually shame for their physical condition. They may be considered as lazy or weak-willed persons. These people may have low self-esteem and difficulty for their social relationship because of their obesity.
- Obesity also causes sleep apnea and sleepiness during the day.
Adolescence obesity prevention
If you are at the risk of becoming obese or currently you are overweight, it is recommended to do some steps to prevent becoming obese such as:
- Try to follow a healthy eating plan including low-calorie and nutrient-dense foods. Limit sweet food and alcohol, avoid oily foods and eat three regular meals a day with a healthy and limited snacking.
- Do regular exercise and moderate activity about 150 to 300 minutes per week in order to prevent weight gain.
- If you monitor your weight regularly (at least once a week) you can watch your weight and make sure whether your activities are enough or you need more effort.
- Increase your physical activities and reduce time in front of the TV and computer to less than two hours a day.
- Improve your sleep and reduce your stress
Generally, the number of obese and overweight people is increasing day by day due to different reasons such as changing the lifestyle, eating fast foods and unhealthy foods and lack of exercise in modern life. Adolescent Obesity should not be concern as a cosmetic issue; it is a health issue that increases the risk of many problems like heart disease and diabetes. Before it is too late you can prevent to be obese by changing your lifestyle, do regular exercise and following a healthy eating plan.