One of the offshoots of some of the eating disorders is teenage obesity. Obesity is a condition where the fat percentage of a child is over 32% for girls and 35% for boys or when the child’s body weight is over by 20% of their ideal weight according to their height. It is not necessarily linked to eating disorders, but eating disorders like Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating can be linked to obesity. Also, while obesity can be problem at different stages of life (for example, even a 7 year old child can classed as obese), most eating disorders are related to the teenage years. Obesity amongst children is one of the growing health concerns for parents across the world and this health risk is growing at an alarming rate. Research indicates that most obese children grow up to be obese adults.
There are several factors that lead to obesity. Below are some of the key causes of obesity:
Physical inactivity: This is one of the biggest causes of teenage obesity. With teenagers spending most of their time in front of the television, playing computer games or on mobiles with their friends and lack of interest in extra-curricular activities after school or college and lack of exercise are some of the key causes of teenage obesity.
Bad eating habits: Another big reason for teenage obesity is bad eating habits. The surge in the consumption of high fat foods like burgers, chips, fizzy drinks and fries has already been condemned and treated as one of the main causes of child obesity.
Genetic Patterns & Family Behaviour: Genetic patterns and family behaviours are also important causes of obesity and it is difficult to separate the two. Whilst the probability of obese parents having obese children is around 30%, it is also true that obese parents often have poor eating habits and condone poor family nutrition, resulting in overweight kids.
Chemical or hormonal imbalances: Another major reason for obesity, especially amongst teenagers, is hormonal changes. Teenagers undergo significant hormonal changes as they reach puberty, which could trigger cravings for certain foods or over-consumption of food.
Lower metabolism: Some teenagers have the tendency to retain or conserve body energy and this trait is easily visible from early childhood, where growth milestones in a child seem to be much quicker than usual.
The first two reasons outlined above (lack of physical activity and lack of proper diet) are the primary reasons for obesity amongst teenagers. As parents, you need to take your teenager’s obesity issue very seriously and get medical and professional help if you see your child being unable to partake in any sport or physical activity or if school/college authorities express concern over their weight or feel that your teenager is overweight. In the book “Solving Teenage Problems”, several tips to deal with teenage obesity have been provided. Along with this the book also touches upon various eating disorders, which can lead to teenage obesity – their causes and tips to solve them.