Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children, and quadrupled among adolescents within the last 30 years. From 1980 to 2012, the number of children between the ages of 6-11 who were obese jumoed from 7 to 18 percent. During the same time period, obese adolescents aged 12-19 experienced an increase from 5 percent to 21 percent. By 2012, more than one-in-three of all children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Health Risks of Childhood Obesity
Obese children are at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, while obese adolescents are also more likely to be pre-diabetic. However, both children and adolescents who are obese are more at risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems.
It has also been shown that children and adolescents who are obese are likely to grow into obese adults. This puts them at greater risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, a number of cancers, and osteoarthritis.
Successful Weight Loss Among Teens
Believing, "If I lose weight, my friends will like me more, my parents will love more more, and the world in general will accept me more readily" may add up to poor motivators for children with obesity. As a matter of fact, all that usually ends in failure.
While most parents believe that teens are largely influenced by the perceptions of other people, researchers have found that teens who successfully lose weight do so for more intrinsic reasons. Teens who successfully lose weight do it for themselves.
Brigham Young University psychologist, Chad Jensen, and his students examined the success stories of 40 formerly overweight or obese teens who lost an average of 30 pounds and maintained weight loss for one year. Over 60 percent stated that health was the main reason they shed the pounds while 43 percent named peer acceptance as a factor.
Most of the teens emphasized the point that losing weight was a decision they made on their own and added that parents helped most by modeling healthy behaviors and providing healthier choices for meals and snacks.
There's More to it Than Just McDonalds
And although fast food makes a great target and excellent villain as the cause of childhood obesity, a new study claims it's not the main reason for the problem. Researchers at the University of North Carolina claim the real problem is poor dietary habits that run throughout the whole day, and that begin right at home.
Consumption patterns for fast food intake were evaluated, and it was discovered that the daily diets at home were a bigger problem than fast foods. On the home front, children consumed low amounts of fruit and vegetables and high amounts of processed foods and sweetened beverages.
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Published On: January 17, 2015