Teenage obesity overview
A quick overview of what causes teenage obesity
You may have been part of unpleasant conversations where someone tried to tell you that it is all a matter of energy-in-energy-out. A disrupted balance. Well, scientists agree now that it is actually more complex. It’s an interaction between a number of things:
The environment you grow up in, the lifestyle and habits that come with it.
The genes you got from your parents can set you up to be more at risk of developing overweight through your childhood and adolescence years.
The food that you eat on a regular basis.
- Socio-economic factors:
The simple fact that you have or don’t have the resources to make changes.
Like antidepressants and steroids can cause weight gain
Among doctors and specialists, we can’t just say that these are the top-5 causes, but what we can do is make a few observations:
- If both your parents are obese, the likelihood of you also being obese is 80%.
- Energy-rich foods are everywhere and there is a lot of marketing targeting you if you are a young person. Energy-rich foods are also made available at a cheap price and all of this adds to the risks of developing obesity
- Screentime, as entertaining as it may be, means that we spend less time being on the move and more time sitting in front of a screen.
- Medications that are more common such as antidepressants, also influence the risks of obesity.
- We observe that obesity is more common in lower socio-economic groups and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
- The chances of obesity are higher in single-parent families and in rural areas.
These observations are part of the recent research that specialists around the world are doing, to understand obesity and to support programs like ours.
Teenage obesity and consequences
What else can I get if I am obese?
You have definitely heard about things like ‘fat shaming’ and there is value in the efforts we make as a community to avoid bullying of people who are overweight. Yet, as specialised doctors here at Teen Time Bariatrics, we also look at another trend: the opposite reaction to obesity, which is to just accept it.
Obesity in young people under 16 is no small thing. Other than your appearance, it affects almost every system in your body and it is all connected.
The extra weight on your hips, knees and ankles can cause joint problems. You may need lower limb surgery at some point to fix these joints. Overweight and obesity often cause sleep apnoea, so you don’t sleep well and don’t recover. You can get diabetes and if that gets bad you may need insulin injections. Obesity is linked to infertility so if you plan to have a family later, now is also the time to think about your future health. And we know that problems with your appearance can cause psychological problems.
In going through the research, we see that the consequences of obesity are often more severe in young people. If you get Type 2 Diabetes because you are obese in your teenage years, statistics predict that you will shorten your life by 15 years.
We have seen the impact on adolescents’ lives many times. The bottom line is that teenage obesity can make you feel unhappy about your life as a whole. This has been a strong motivation to work out our adolescents’ weight loss program in Perth.
Teenage obesity vs adult obesity
Grow out of it? Exercise away the kilos?
Burning off calories is a great idea if you are obese. But by itself, without any other type of change, the reality is that you will have to do an awful lot.
In shops, supermarkets and venues, all types of small snacks are smiling at us and the calories that are in them will take hours and hours of workout to burn. As you may have noticed, exercise strengthens your appetite, and if nothing else is changed, you may just go back for more snacks.
So where does exercise fit in? Our data shows that it improves the effect of a change in your diet. And it also improves the outcomes after you have weight loss surgery, which is why we support you to exercise the right way after your procedure.
Needless to add that exercise can be a great way to engage with friends and it can actually be fun!
Let’s tackle another bit of information that you may come across as you read up on teenage obesity: the dangerous myth that you will grow out of it. Now that can be a useful expression to talk about a newborn and their baby fat, but it does not apply to a young person over the age of 10.
For example, if you are obese at age 10, the chance that you are obese at the age of 35 is 80%. If you are categorised as morbidly obese at the age of 10, the chance that you will be morbidly obese at 35 is closer to 100%.
Teenage obesity and surgery
Can weight loss surgery help me as a teenager?
Once you are in that range that specialists call morbidly obese, scientists are aligned. The most powerful way to lose weight in a long-lasting way is surgery.
It’s called weight loss surgery, or obesity surgery, or bariatric surgery and what we see in our patients is two big effects:
- The weight loss itself: we use our decades of experience in weight loss surgery, and the experience from our dedicated teenage program Teen Time Bariatrics. You don’t just book surgery – we have a fully qualified program for your whole journey. We take the assessment seriously so we first check if you are a candidate to get access to the program. Then we make sure you fully understand the ins and outs, and we prepare you for your procedure. And after your surgery, you can count on our team of specialist doctors, dietitians, and physiotherapists to get going in your new life.
- What we also see with early intervention is that after the surgery, many of the related diseases also resolve. Diabetes, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure or joint problems: our patients tell us that they simply feel healthier after adapting to their new lifestyle and after weight loss surgery.
Teenage obesity and Teen Time bariatrics
Why Teen Time Bariatrics?
Teen Time Bariatrics is a dedicated weight loss surgery program. This program has been created to help you with teenage obesity, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.