Effects of Obesity Among Adolescents

A problem of being overweight is very commonly seen among adolescents these days. A change in eating habits and lifestyle is the main cause of adolescent obesity. It can give rise to a number of health problems. Let's understand what are the effects of obesity on adolescents.
In recent years, obesity is a significantly increasing problem in teens and adolescents. Have you ever thought what is the reason behind it? Dietary habits and lifestyle of the adolescents are remarkably changed, which have caused this problem. You will see the adolescents resting in front television or computer and constantly eating high-calorie junk foods. Lack of exercise is also another important reason of adolescent obesity. This problem should not be neglected. It is a complex disorder that can cause a number of health problems in children.


The causes of adolescent obesity are variable and complex. Various factors such as environment, genetics, metabolism, eating habits and lifestyle play a significant role in developing the obesity among the adolescents. Generally, obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he burns up. A child of obese parents is at higher risk to develop obesity. If both the parents are overweight, then there are 80% chances of developing obesity in children. There are certain medical conditions such as endocrine and neurological problems, which can cause obesity. Some of the common causes of obesity in children and adolescents are poor eating habits, lack of exercise, overeating or binging, family and peer problems, family history of obesity, certain medications such as steroids, some psychiatric medications, low self-esteem, depression, emotional problems and stressful life events such as divorce of parents, death of beloved one, or abuse. A child with a high BMI (Body Mass Index) is likely to develop obesity.


Obesity is a serious condition as it can give rise to various health problems in any age. Obesity in adolescents causes many physical and psychological problems. Obese children may suffer from certain orthopedic problems such as slipped capital-femoral epiphysis. They may also suffer from pseudotumor cerebri, gallbladder disease, Blount disease, sleep apnea and hypertension. They are at greater risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and breathing problems. An obese child shows the symptoms such as chronic mouth breathing, hyperactivity, daytime sleepiness, morning headache, systemic and/or pulmonary hypertension, cyanosis and cardiac rhythm disturbances.

In addition to these physical effects, obesity in adolescents causes some serious psychological effects. Obese children are often teased by others for their appearance and being overweight. It can create a low self-esteem and inferiority complex in them. It results in poor memory or concentration and poor performance at school. They tend to avoid mixing in the society and attending the social events. They may suffer from anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Adolescent obesity can be treated with dietary changes, increasing physical activities and certain medications. Foods containing fats and high calories should be strictly excluded from their diet. However, you should be careful that adolescents should get enough nutrients required for a healthy growth through their diet. You should make sure the children are engaged in more physical activities and exercises. Use of medications is not generally required in case of adolescent obesity. However, in some severe cases, certain medications such as orlistat or sibutramine are given. But keep in mind, these drugs should be given only after consulting the doctor.
By Reshma Jirage
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