Overweight Teens & Facts on Obesity
Here are some facts about teenagers
and children with respect to obesity.
Obesity can weaken physical health and well-being and can shorten
life expectancy. It can lead to social disabilities and unhappiness,
which may cause stress and even mental illness. The development
of a personal identity and body image
is a major goal for adolescents. Your parents, physician and teachers
can help you. If you think you are overweight, talk to a trusted
adult about what you can do to become more healthy and fit.
1) In the United States at least one child in
five is overweight, and the number of overweight children continues
to grow. Over the last two decades, this number has increased
by more than 50%, and the number of "extremely" overweight
children has nearly doubled (Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
Medicine, 1995 [149:1085-91]).
2) Obesity can be defined as an excessive accumulation
of body fat, which results in individuals being at least 20% heavier
than their ideal body weight. "Overweight" is defined
as any weight in excess of the ideal range.
3) Obesity is a common eating disorder associated
with adolescence. The incidence of obesity among American teen-agers
is 12 to 15%. Obesity is more common in girls. One study reported
a high prevalence of obesity in 14-year-old girls(32.4%) compared
to 14-year-old boys (3.6%).
4) Although children have fewer weight-related
health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk
of becoming overweight adolescents and adults. Overweight people
of all ages are at risk for a number of health problems including
heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some
forms of cancer.