Rates of obesity have increased dramatically in recent decades for Americans of all ages according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled among adolescents. The percent of adolescents aged 12-19 who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to nearly 21% in 2012.
Overall, nearly one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is an excessive accumulation of body fat such that individuals are over 20 percent heavier than their ideal body weight. Obesity is a common eating disorder associated with adolescence.
"Overweight" is defined as having any excess weight outside of the ideal range.
Although children have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults. Overweight people of all ages are prone to a number of health problems.
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Health Issues Related to Obesity
Some health issues associated with obesity include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Obesity can weaken physical health and well-being, resulting in a shortened life expectancy. It can also lead to social disabilities and unhappiness, which may cause stress and heighten risk of mental illness.
Studies suggest that overweight children are more likely to be involved in bullying – both as victims and as perpetrators of teasing, name-calling, and physical bullying – than normal weight children.
The development of a personal identity and body image is an important goal for adolescents. Your parents, physician, and teachers can help you. If you think you are overweight, talk to a trusted adult about what you can do to improve your health.
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Updated By: Calvin Lui, teen writer
Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: August 2016
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Body Mass Index, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Defining Overweight and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overweight in Children, American Heart Association.