By Editor, March 19, 2012
Obese teenagers will continue to put on more weight as adults, according to a study. This is especially concerning as the statistics for obesity in the USA are already alarming. One third of children and teenagers are overweight, and two thirds of adults are obese.
Overweight youngsters are becoming the norm, with many 8 year olds weighing as much as the average 12 year old. As these young people hit puberty, their body shapes change with more muscle being put on larger bones as they grow. Young girls start growing breasts and both sexes tend to spend more time on less energetic pursuits, passing a lot of time in the front of the computer or the television. During the teen years, youngsters become more self-conscious about their weight, and in consequence eat more and less healthily, eventually moving into the obese category.
Nanci Hillmich points out that the study, Association of Adolescent Obesity with Risk of Severe Obesity in Adulthood, published in the Journal of the America Medical Association, found that obese teenagers continue with their bad habits of over-eating, of comfort eating, and of junk-eating through their teens into their twenties. By the time they reach 30 years of age, they will be even more obese. An obese (30 pounds overweight) teenager will be 80-100 pounds overweight by the end of his/her 20s. This study used 8,800 people and used their BMI's as reference points.
Obesity is becoming a huge health problem in the States, and as successive generations get larger, the nation is going to be overwhelmed with obesity-related illnesses. The main concerns are heart disease, triggered by high cholesterol levels, lung problems as the respiratory system is unable to cope with the bulk, liver damage from fatty acids, pancreatic problems leading to diabetes, gall stones, and joint failures due to weight damage.
This is quite a frightening list of health issues, and this particular study shows that only 1-2% of teenagers of normal weight went on to obesity by the time they were 30. Normal weight gain from teens to thirty is 37 pounds. This is probably due to life-style changes, such as getting less exercise and eating out more, where they are faced with larger portions.
There is only one way to lose weight, and that is by achieving a balance of calorie-intake against calorie-output, i.e. food intake against calorie-burning exercise. This message needs to be firmly taught to young people and their families, and get the youngsters moving more before they become overweight. Once they are obese, they are too embarrassed to exercise, as well as being too unfit to do so.
Anyone finding their children are larger than average should immediately seize on this article and get help for the young ones to lose weight. It is far easier to help a child lose weight than a teenager, with all their angst and insistence on eating what they want and like, rather than something healthy. Participating in sport-related exercise gives an overweight teenager some self-confidence and helps motivate weight loss.