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Obesity in adolescence: causes, consequences and how to deal

Obesity in adolescence: causes, consequences and how to deal

Obesity is now considered a public health problem and its prevalence, across all age groups, is increasing worldwide. In Brazil, IBGE data for 2014 show that 15% of children between 5 and 9 years old and 25% of adolescents are overweight or obese. The increase in these indices is mainly related to environmental factors such as reduced time spent on physical activities and changes in dietary habits, reduced fruit and vegetable intake and increased consumption of processed foods rich in sugars and fats, with a high caloric value.

Most obese adolescents present obesity from childhood, more specifically since before the age of five. The maintenance of obesity is related to several factors, including the age of onset (the earlier the risk is) and the degree of obesity (the more obese the risk is). And the vast majority of obese adolescents become obese adults, the higher the ratio the greater the severity of obesity.

Causes of obesity in adolescence

Obesity has several causes. Among their predisposing factors are:

  • Genetic factors : children of non-obese parents have a 9% chance of becoming obese, whereas if one parent is obese the chance rises to 40% and if both parents are obese, to 80%
  • Individual factors : each individual has its own metabolic characteristics, with greater or lesser capacity to gain or lose weight
  • Environmental factors : have a great influence on adolescent obesity, usually due to the great contribution of calories and low amount of physical activities. Food error and sedentary lifestyle are responsible for most cases of obesity in childhood and adolescence.
  • Diseases: Although not the most common cause of obesity, there are some diseases that can trigger it, such as endocrinological diseases or genetic syndromes. Consequences of obesity in adolescence

Many health problems related to obesity in adolescence, the main ones being:

Hypertension:

  • About 24% of Brazilian adolescents have pressure Obesity can lead to increased insulin and worsen its sensitivity to glucose, leading to type 2 diabetes. When untreated, it can cause problems. cardiovascular disorders, ocular, renal, among others, already in the young adult Dyslipidemias
  • : cholesterol changes, with increase of LDL, triglycerides and VLDL, and drop in HDL, are very related can lead to stroke, coronary diseases, and acute myocardial infarction. When changes start in childhood or adolescence, they can lead to sudden death in adulthood Liver and bile duct diseases:
  • Obesity is the leading cause of hepatic steatosis (liver fat) and gallstones ) in children and adolescents Orthopedic problems
  • : overweight can lead to several orthopedic problems, including fractures and musculoskeletal pain Oncology problems
  • : obese people are at higher risk of developing some types of cancer such as those of the endometrium, breasts, gut, liver, gallbladder and kidneys. Psychosocial problems
  • : obese children and adolescents may develop low self-esteem, self-image distortion, anxiety, depression, social isolation, eating disorders, frequent targets of bullying. Some remain with some disorder even after weight loss. Dealing With Adolescent Obesity
  • Overweight and obesity should be tackled and treated early to avoid health problems during youth and then throughout life. Studies in adults show that 70% of diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes can be prevented with loss or control of weight gain in the first 2 decades of life. Children and adolescents have the benefit of using growth to improve weight / height ratio. For them, the fact of not gaining weight, even not losing weight, already works, because they continue to grow. It is a consensus among experts that lifestyle change is the main means for reducing and controlling weight. In addition to dietary re-education and the stimulation of physical activity, certain habits should be modified, such as eating watching television and not having routine meals.

The recommended diet is high in fiber and omega 3, such as vegetables, fruits, vegetables , nuts and fish and low in sugars, salt and fats. Industrialized foods should be avoided or controlled, such as snack foods, fried foods, biscuits, juices and sweetened teas. Care should be taken not to exaggerate calorie restriction, as children and adolescents need energy and nutrients for their growth and development.

Daily physical activity is advised for 60 minutes, and 3 times a week should be of medium to high intensity. It is also part of the fight against sedentarism to restrict the time dedicated to the screens, that is, the sum of time in activities on the computer, television, cell phones and tablets should not exceed 2 hours a day.

When obesity is the consequence of some disease , or to leave sequelae from a physical or psychic point of view, the treatment will be directed by the doctor or psychologist.

Obese families should keep in mind that people can not modify their genes, but they can improve their habits by encouraging their children to eat healthy and engage in physical activity. These changes bring benefits to all family members, including the next generations, who will grow up in a healthy environment without the risks associated with obesity.


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