Obesity rates have increased in the last 40 years, with approximately 17% of teens and adolescents experiencing the condition. Those with genetic predispositions and those growing up in stressful environments are at an elevated risk of obesity. If your teen is struggling with their weight, medical centers are available to help them understand and treat the condition.
What Causes Obesity in Teens?
Biologically, obesity occurs when the body ingests more calories than it can burn off. However, it can be caused by environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors.
If your teen is experiencing stress or difficulties at school or home, they may turn to food. It becomes a coping mechanism that comforts them.
Approximately 20% of teens experience depression before reaching maturity. Like stress, depression can make them use food for support.
At times, obesity can be a cyclical process. Depression can lead to overeating and weight gain. The weight increase can lower self-esteem, and intensify depression, and cause further overeating.
Depression can be treated with medication, though some will increase appetite, leading to obesity. While your child may not be genetically prone to obesity, other medicines, like steroids, can also cause weight gain.
Genetics also plays a role in obesity. When one parent is obese, their child has a 50% chance of becoming obese themselves; if both parents are overweight, the risk increases to 80%.
How Can I Encourage Higher Activity Levels in My Teen?
Reach out to a physician at your local medical center to determine the cause of obesity, and how best to treat it. If there’s a physical cause—like overeating or medication—the doctor can suggest diet plans or alter the teen’s prescription.
However, encouraging a more active lifestyle will make losing weight more manageable. Teens become less active the further into adolescence they are. Motivate them by being a role model and encourage physical activities as a family.
Don’t use physical activity as a punishment. Instead, limit the amount of time your teen spends on their phone and other electronic devices. Give them running shoes or a bike to help them on their fitness journey. Support them and provide rewards as they make progress and stick to the fitness regimen.
Taking care of your teen is your primary concern. When you need help, there are physicians available to you. HDR Healthcare Network is conveniently located in the Bronx, NY, and offers care to children, adults, and seniors alike. Whether you need a routine physical or urgent care, their medical center provides comprehensive and compassionate treatment. For more information on their services, including health education, illness prevention, and cardiology, visit their website. To make an appointment, reach out to them at (929) 256-5005.