Many boys and girls in developing countries enter adolescence undernourished, making them more vulnerable to disease and early death. At the other end of the spectrum, the number of adolescents who are overweight or obese is increasing in the low-, middle- and high-income countries.
Globally, in 2016, over one in six adolescents aged 10–19 years was overweight. Prevalence varied across WHO regions, from lower than 10% in the WHO South-East Asia region to over 30% in the WHO Region of the Americas. In India, the prevalence of obesity in teenagers and youth combined ( 11-25 years of age ) is 42%.
Common causes of obesity include
Overeating, eating high caloric food, large portion size
Lack of Exercise
Excess media use
Lack of sleep
Insulin resistance leads to sugar build up causing obesity and diabetes.
Low leptin levels – do not allow the brain to get a signal that food intake is enough.
Medical conditions – Endocrine and chromosomal abnormalities
Obesity is a national epidemic, causing higher medical costs and a lower quality of life.
Why is childhood or teenage /youth Obesity a cause of National concern?
Childhood or teenage /youth Obesity is a contributing cause of many other health problems:
- including heart disease,
- blood pressure ,
- abnormal lipids ,
- early onset heart attack ,
- early onset brain stroke,
- early onset type 2 diabetes
- Skin fold fungal infections
- Liver and Gallbladder disease
- Orthopedic problems -Backaches, ankle fractures, joint dislocations and joint pains are common
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Inflammation of pancreas
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
- Infertility problems in both males & females
- Preterm delivery
- sleep apnea
- breathing problems and make activity more difficult.
- Emotional health problems – due to peer pressure & bullying leading to anxiety , depression , lack of self confidence , lack of self esteem , social discrimination career problems relationship problems, body image issues
- Can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood.
Obese persons require more costly medical care. This places a huge financial burden on our medical care system.
Obesity is a complex problem that requires a strong call for action, at many levels, for both adults as well as children. Promote change at all levels
- Empowering parents and caregivers.
- Providing healthy food in schools.
- Improving access to healthy, affordable foods.
- Increasing physical activity.
This can be achieved by multipronged approaches at different levels:
• Support hospital programs that encourage breastfeeding.
• Adopt policies that promote bicycling and public transportation.
• Create and maintain safe neighborhoods for physical activity and improve access to parks and playgrounds.
• Advocate for quality physical education in schools and childcare facilities.
• Encourage breastfeeding through peer-to-peer support programs.
• Support programs that bring local fruits and vegetables to schools, businesses, and communities