Latest research shows that teenagers who develop belly fat are far more likely to become morbidly obese as adults. Action needs to be taken to prevent long term health problems.
Serious health problems includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. All of these can lead to an early death. Other common problems caused by obesity are asthma and arthritis, which although rarely fatal can cause a lower quality of life.
In the most severe cases teenagers are now finding themselves with just years left to live due to being so overweight. The trend is still rising even though there have been some government initiatives to try to tackle the problem.
The study showed that 37% of obese boys and 51% of obese girls go on to become severely obese adults. This is an interesting statistic, as it suggests that women will find it harder to lose weight past childhood. Later in life, between the ages of 35-45 men are more likely to be obese, however if obesity starts during childhood, the reverse appears to be the case.
What causes obesity?
Obesity is caused by overeating. Contrary to popular belief, obesity is not caused by a lack of exercise. Nobody ever got fat from sitting still. It is always because of a poor diet that is high in calories. The only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories every day so that you burn fat. Exercise helps this process, but it cannot be the only cure.
It is very important that parents take action sooner to help prevent their children from becoming very ill as a result of overeating. Some things to consider are that working mothers are more likely to have obese children as they spend less time preparing healthy food, and rely more on junk food.
Active kids are healthier too. Increased activity helps to burn off a few extra calories, but the real difference is that sports and fitness helps to improve a child’s self esteem and confidence and also improve their self awareness. Children that practice martial arts are often slimmer, fitter and healthier than inactive children. Part of the reason is that during their leisure time they are exercising and not eating!
If you have been struggling with your weight, read our guide.
The research was carried out by the following scientific bodies:
Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, associate professor of nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Jessica Rieder, MD, founder and director, Bronx Nutrition and Fitness Initiative for Teens (“B’N’Fit), Montefiore Medical Center, New York. Published in The, N. Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 10, 2010; vol 304: pp 2042-2047.