A person is obese when they are carrying a lot of excess body fat for their height and sex and are at risk of developing health problems because of this extra weight. As a teenager your body shape is likely to change as you move through adolescence. Lots of young people carry a little bit of extra weight – having a little bit of a wobbly belly doesn’t make you obese.
Obesity is usually caused by regularly eating and drinking far more calories (energy) than your body uses up. Your body’s natural metabolism uses up some of the calories you consume and physical activity also burns them off but any remaining calories will be stored by the body as fat. Obesity affects children and young people as well as adults. It’s been estimated that at the current rate, 25% of all children will be obese by 2050.
Being seriously overweight is bad for your health and general well being. There are lots of health problems linked to obesity including diabetes, heart problems and some types of cancer. Young people who are obese are at risk of developing these conditions as they become adults along with other potential health issues including asthma, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease. Excess weight can also cause strain and damage to leg bones and knee joints.
Carrying a lot of extra weight can be tiring, uncomfortable and may stop you from doing some of the activities you want to. In some people it can reduce self confidence and cause low self esteem, anxiety or even depression. Losing weight is the only way to treat obesity. This is usually done through calorie controlled dieting and increased exercise. Surgery is only used in exceptional cases. It’s not a good idea to go on a strict diet unless it’s under the advice and supervision of your doctor or another health professional.
If you’re concerned about your weight, and its effect on your health, you should get some advice from your doctor or another health professional.
For more information on obesity go to the websites tab above.