Grayce P. Storey
A person is often considered to be obese when he or she is twenty percent above the ideal body weight according to the person’s height and build. Obesity is a problem for all ages. For adolescents, it can be stressful because of their consciousness of body image, sexuality, peer and societal approval. Obese adolescents usually were obese children. Obesity causes emotional problems, increases the risk of many diseases, and increases dangers in surgical procedures.
When considering whether a person is obese, weight is not always an accurate indicator. The skeletal frame and muscle mass are to be considered in determining how much of the weight is in fat deposits. Genetics play a major role in childhood obesity. Primarily, overeating and a low activity level cause obesity. Compared to their nutritional needs obese individuals eat excessively, often rapidly, sometimes without hunger, and often at night.
The adolescent who was obese as a child may have suffered early devaluation in a society oriented to thinness. This devaluation can cause low self-esteem. With a heightened sense of poor body image, obesity can mean a loss of self-worth. With added pressure from peer groups and society the individual may resort to food for gratification and comfort. Diets fail because the emotional need for food is outstanding.
Early adolescent years are the periods of rapid growth and adequate nutritional intake is important. No weight reduction plan should be considered that will deprive the body of necessary nutrients. The adolescent is advised to seek professional guidance in choosing a weight reduction plan. As the adolescent increases his or her height, their weight will become more evenly distributed.
In the behavior technique for weight loss the individuals are helped to realize the parameters of hunger and starvation. They learn to eat more slowly and to recognize the times of emotional stress that lead to finding comfort in food. It is essential to follow an exercise program. Physical activity helps the adolescent develop a sense of accomplishment. Support is greatly needed in any weight reduction plan. Other means must be considered to satisfy emotional needs other than food. Realistic and tangible incentives are good motivators. Low calorie food alternatives should be substituted for high calorie choices. By the adolescent assisting in food preparation a sense of responsibility and control over food intake can be developed. Gradual changes are advised, with the adolescent participating in what he or she can realistically accomplish.
The treatment of obesity can be slow, difficult, and
Though the problem often times seems overwhelming to the adolescent, their family, and even professionals, the benefits of weight loss, both emotional and physical, are such that every effort should be made to assist the adolescent in a safe, effective reduction plan.