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Why Should Adolescent Obesity Be Taken Seriously!

A healthy mind and body keeps everyone fit, active while also helping improve the overall quality of your life. It helps instate a sense of general well-being while also helping improve your mood. Besides eating nutritious foods, you should also make sure to embrace exercise and good habits as it will help your body to stay energetic while increasing overall productivity as well. An active life coupled with a proper diet not only decreases the risk of heart problems, cancers and strokes but also helps in setting the tone for the rest of your life.

It’s been widely established that in several people, the problem of obesity does not start in adulthood but is a condition they have been living with since childhood and adolescence. As per various studies and reports, severely obese children and adolescents have reported having a lower health-related QOL (quality of life) as compared to children and adolescents who are healthy, follow a proper diet. As a matter of fact, there have been cases of several obese children having a similar QOL as compared to those diagnosed as having cancer. Physicians, parents, and teachers need to be informed while staying vigilant of the risk these children suffering from impaired health-related QOL face. This can enable them to share the same information not only among obese children and adolescents but also their parents by way of targeting interventions that could help greatly turn around their health.

In today’s day and age, Obesity ranks amongst the most common chronic disorders in childhood and its prevalence continues to increase rapidly. Although there is a growing awareness of the long-term health complications related to obesity in children and adolescents, many paediatricians fail to impart knowledge of the widespread risks to obese children and adolescents in the absence of other comorbid conditions. The primary issue stems from the fact that obesity is not considered to be a disease by most people, physicians included. They not only fail to intimate their patients or parents about this condition but also tend to take this condition lightly. Besides the several physical complications, obesity entails, the most widespread consequences of childhood obesity may be the psychosocial blow it delivers. Obese children and adolescents are at risk for a range of psychological and social adjustment problems. This could include lower perceived competencies than normal children their age which could affect them be on a social, athletic, and appearance level, while also making them doubt their own overall sense of self-worth.

While aspects of self-esteem may relate to an overall psychological adjustment, including depressive symptoms, the health-related quality of life appears to be a more comprehensive and multidimensional construct that encompasses the physical, emotional, social, and school functioning of the affected child. Although most doctors strongly believe that being overweight in childhood or adolescence thus tend to affect future QOL, there is little existing information about the health-related QOL of obese children and adolescents. In contrast, a bevvy of studies that have been conducted in obese adults has demonstrated lower health-related QOL than among adults. However, the health-related QOL differences in adults vary by sex and body mass index (BMI) and are not consistent across all domains tested. Furthermore, while physical functioning and overall health-related QOL scale scores are consistently lower in obese adults, emotional functioning and mental health domains have not been found to be uniformly lower than in healthy adults.

This clearly states that obese children and adolescents, when compared with healthy children and adolescents, would have inferior health-related QOL findings as seen in other paediatric chronic health conditions. Additionally, it’s been found that greater BMI values would correspond with a lower overall health-related QOL. The paradigm needs to shift as obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. Parents of these obese children who don’t take control of this situation and fail to adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise are more than likely to become overweight adults. Parents can indeed help remedy this situation by providing gentle reminders of the child’s strengths and positive qualities rather than using taunts or shunning them off food completely. This can help improve the child’s self-esteem and divert their attention rather than just focusing on their weight problem. If the child has psychological scars owing to an ongoing obesity issue, parents can enlist the services of a child and adolescent psychiatrist who can work with the child’s family doctor and chalk out a comprehensive treatment plan. Incorporating such a plan would not only take into consideration proper weight loss goals along with dietary and physical activity management but also take into account behaviour modification along with family involvement to help the child shun obesity and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

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