Obesity in teens is becoming a grave health concern every day

Obesity in youth is a growing problem

Obesity in youth is a growing problem, and it can lead to serious health issues later in life, 

obesity in teens

Obesity in Teens Raises Adult Diabetes Risk, Even After Weight Loss

Is obesity a disease?

A new study shows that teens who are overweight or obese may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or have a heart attack in their 30s and 40s.

obesity in children

These teens are also more likely to have other health issues down the road, regardless of whether they shed any excess weight during adulthood.

"Adolescence is an important time period to prevent future diabetes and heart attacks," said study author Dr. Jason Nagata, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the division of adolescent and young adult medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

obesity in children

Exactly how adolescent weight affects your future health is not fully understood yet, but risk factors that begin to accrue at younger ages — such as hardening of the arteries or insulin resistance — may be difficult to fully reverse.

Childhood Obesity Facts - The obesity rate in America

For the new study, the researchers analyzed data on 12,300 adolescents who were followed for 24 years as part of the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The investigators tracked body mass index (BMI) z-scores. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight, and the z-score puts it into perspective based on a child's age and sex. Try our obesity calculator

Childhood obesity

When compared with teens who had lower BMI-z scores, adolescents with higher scores had a nearly 9% increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a 0.8% greater risk for having a heart attack in their 30s and 40s, and a 2.6% higher risk for being in overall poorer health, and this holds regardless of their adult BMI. The researchers also controlled for other factors known to affect health outcomes, such as race/ethnicity, tobacco, and alcohol use.

obesity in children

Obesity to diabetes or making changes

Making healthy lifestyle changes may help stop some of these risks in their tracks. "Eat a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet, as every study is ever done shows that this way of eating reduces disease and helps people maintain or lose weight," Freeman ( Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health, in Denver) said. 

Daily exercise is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

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