In many ways, childhood obesity is a puzzling disease. Doctors do not fully understand how the body controls weight and body fat. On one hand, the cause seems simple. If a person takes in more calories than he or she uses for energy, then he or she will gain weight.
But a teen's obesity can be caused by a combination of things. It can be linked to:
Some endocrine disorders, diseases, and medicines may also have a strong effect on a child’s weight.
Things that may put your teen at risk for obesity are:
Too much body fat is the main symptom of obesity. But it’s hard to directly measure body fat. A guideline called the body mass index (BMI) is used to estimate it. The BMI uses a teen’s weight and height to come up with a result. The result is then compared with standards for children of the same gender between the ages of 2 and 20.
A teen who is overweight has a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile for age and gender. He or she is obese if the BMI is greater than the 95th percentile for age and gender.
Obesity is diagnosed by a healthcare provider. BMI is often used to define obesity in teens. It has 2 categories:
Treatment depends on your teen’s symptoms, age, and health. It also depends on how severe the condition is.
Treatment for obesity may include:
Treatment often involves the help of a nutritionist, mental health professionals, and an exercise specialist. Your teen’s treatment goals should be realistic. They should focus on a modest cutting back of calories, changing eating habits, and adding more physical activity.
Obesity can affect your teen’s health in a number of ways. These include:
Young people often become overweight or obese because they have poor eating habits and aren’t active enough. Genes also play a role.
Here are some tips to help your teen stay at a healthy weight:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: