Memories of a Severly Obese Kid
My brother and I are waiting our turn in line at Great Adventure. It is a hot afternoon, and the splashdown that concludes our chance on the flume will feel delicious. It is my favorite ride, and while I wait to go on I am reasonably certain that time has frozen.
I divide my attention between the line of people ahead of me and the fresh new t-shirt that my mother has just purchased for me. The line winds for what seems like city blocks, and I feel spoiled. My favorite ride and a brand new tee. What more could I ask for?
I am careful in my selection, spinning the rack of tees until that one special shirt demanded notice. It is a wonderful blue cloth with a fox on it. She winks devilishly, and the word "foxy" floats over her image.
My mother has left my brother and I to protect our spot in line while she goes to get us ice cream. I feel double spoiled. My favorite ride, a new tee shirt, and ice cream. It is too much.
The boy standing behind me is about my age. I have seen him peeking at my shirt and we make eye contact. He smirks and says, "That's the biggest fox I've ever seen." His words break through my skin and take root.
I am just a fat girl in line now, and the day feels hotter than before.
Problems Caused by Teen Obesity
It is difficult being a teenager; it is more difficult being an obese teenager.
As noted in the above story from long ago, the social challenges are difficult. Research published in Psychosomatic Medicine shows adolescent girls experience anxiety at a rate four times greater than normal. Obese teenage females are also four times more likely than average weight teenage females to suffer from depression.
Both obese boys and girls are more likely to be the victims of bullies, and obese girls are less likely to date than their non-obese peers. Both genders report dissatisfaction with dating status.
Obese girls and boys report instances of social teasing that is well beyond the average. In addition, these same children report weight-focused teasing from both peers and family members.
Health Issues of Obese Teens
Thirty-eight percent of obese adolescents have fatty liver disease and are also three times as likely as normal weight adolescents to have hypertension. Fifty percent of severely obese adolescents have metabolic syndrome. Orthopedic injuries, sleep apnea, and Type Diabetes also can be consequences of teen obesity.
Improvements in the Health of Obese Adolescents After Weight-Loss Surgery
Studies have shown that the health issues experienced by adolescents improved dramatically after weight-loss surgery. Although the number of subjects who were studied is limited, the results are impressive.
All but one of the adolescent patients who had weight-loss performed had Type 2 Diabetes go into remission. Cardiac abnormalities diminish in morbidly obese teens and remain steady for at least two years after weight-loss surgery. Hypertension ceased in all patients and all patients reported an improved quality of life.