Teen Obesity – cause and effect

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Because of the way life has changed over the last few decades there has been a general increase in teen obesity as well as obesity in the general sense of the entire population. Many countries are now claiming that up to one third of their teenage population has a problem with teen obesity which in the long run will cost the country a lot of money in medical and hospital funding. Teen obesity is becoming a problem that some refer to as a epidemic however the difference is that this dilemma is a crisis that can be controlled with the right means and intervention. Because of the modern age of computers, computer games, fast foods and extended recreational times the teen obesity problem will not go away without a solution put into place to stem this manifestation.

Fast food and long periods of inactivity are mainly to blame for the rapid increase in teen obesity. It is not that the teenagers are not being completely inactive but they are not doing the physical activity that is required for them to burn the excessive amount of calorie intake that they have each day. Eventually this means that the excess weight will continue to increase and these teenagers will get even bigger as they reach adulthood. The causes of teen obesity really revolve around the lack of exercise and physical activity that is required by the average person to maintain a healthy life style. Being obese is potentially dangerous and bad for the heart so must be taken seriously by not only the people suffering from the infliction but also from the parents and guardians of the teenagers.

By substituting a packed lunch of fruit, sandwiches with brown bread and juice you will cut back the excess calories that the teenagers are devouring by purchasing their lunch from the local MacDonald’s, school tuck shops and other fast food restaurants. This substitution should be done for each meal and no meals should be skipped and made into a fast food meal if the subjects are serious about losing the weight that they have put on. There is no need for teenagers to be idol and overweight just because society has made life easier for them. There are school sport programs, gyms and other sport and recreational activities in and around every neighborhood which can be used by every teenage and adult. Many of these activities are free and many sports are also free to get started such as running, walking or swimming. By influencing you child’s lifestyle you are helping to reduce the chance of teen obesity and help your children stay healthier and develop good habits for the future.

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What Are The Worst Fast Food Meals?

Filed under: Teen Obesity Causes - 15 May 2013  | Spread the word !

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With the rate of teen obesity on the rise, there has never been a better time than now to kick-start a healthy lifestyle. So ditch fries for fruit, sweets for salads and start your journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Being obese leads to many health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. But as you begin to eat more healthily, not only will this boost your self confidence, but your body will be changing for the better. You’ll be drastically reducing your risk of developing heart-related illnesses which means you’re far less likely to have to claim on your health insurance, let alone experience the ominous feeling that your family will soon have to claim your Aviva Life insurance when you leave for a better place. If you are ever tempted by fast food then hopefully the three meals listed below will put you off ordering. Below are three of the worst fast food meals you could order.

Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta – 1,480 calories

Containing almost a day’s worth of calories, this meal is packed with salt, sugar and a staggering 56g of fat. The pizza dough has been scooped out and replaced with noodles and a fatty cream cheese sauce. It is crammed with refined carbohydrates which leaves little room for any protein or fibre.

KFK – Half Spicy Crispy Chicken Meal with Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Wedges – 1,610 calories

You might think chicken is healthy but when it’s been deep fried and comes with fatty side dishes, it turns into a hugely unhealthy meal. This plateful racks up a frightening 98g fat which is 18g more than your entire day’s allowance of fat. KFC uses the fattiest cuts of meats (thighs and legs) then deep fries them. This entire meal comes close to 85 percent of your entire day’s calories.

Burger King – Large Triple Whopper with Cheese Value Meal with Fries and Coke – 2,110 calories

Probably the worst meal you could order comes in the form of this Burger King value meal. It contains more than 2000 calories and oozes with 104 g fat. Eat one of these meals once a week for a year and you’ll gain 30 pounds!

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The Impact of Junk Food Advertising on Teen Obesity

Filed under: Teen Obesity Causes - 07 Jan 2013  | Spread the word !

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A picture can be worth a thousand…calories.

The childhood and teen obesity epidemic has become a serious public health issue that increases mortality and morbidity and has substantial economic and social costs on the long term. The rates of obesity in children and youth in the US have almost tripled in the last 25 years.

One of the major reasons behind this epidemic has recently proven to be the fact that many of the commercials that teenagers see on TV are for junk food products. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine came to this conclusion after researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago and University of Michigan conducted several studies. These studies showed that 26% of the TV ads that teens see on TV are for food products. Most of those food products are rich in fat, sugar and sodium – in one word, junk.


It’s no secret that children and teenagers nowadays are bombarded with smiling images and logos of fast food icons. Another study, conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggested that young people who recognize fast food brands when certain cues are erased (such as Mc Donald’s and KFC’s logos) are twice as likely to be obese than those who recognized only a few.

Parents rarely think about the fact that watching their favorite TV shows can be hazardous for their kids’ health. Considering that kids see during those commercial breaks, they should start getting worried. A study of almost 100,000 food ads on TV concluded that 89% of ads seen by kids and teenagers are promoting junk food products.

Children nowadays, ages 8 to 18, consume multiple types of media (often at the same time) and spend an average of 44.5 hours a week in front of the computer, television, and game screen. This figure is higher than any other activity in their lives, except for sleeping. Recent research has shown that there are strong associations between teen obesity and increases in advertising for non-nutritious foods.


Here are some facts regarding the impact of advertising and obesity on children’s mental and behavioral health:

  • food industry advertising that targets children and teenagers has been linked to the increase of children and teen obesity;
  • advertising by other industries often objectifies girls and women, which can contribute to body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression;
  • many teenagers, especially girls, have body image issues that lead to them engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors, which include: fasting, eating very little food, vomiting, skipping meals, using diet pills, and using diuretics;
  • the aforementioned behaviors have been found to co-occur with obesity;
  • weight bias may marginalize children and teenagers considered obese by their colleagues and teachers, therefore placing them at risk for being teased and bullied.


Here are some more facts regarding television advertising and obesity in youth:

  • teen obesity increases the more hours they watch television;
  • children’s exposure to TV commercials that promote unhealthy foods represents a significant risk factor for obesity;
  • in very young children, for every 1-hour increase in TV watching per day, there are higher intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food, meat, and overall calories;
  • children watching over 3 hours of television per day are 50% more likely to become obese than those who watch TV for less than 2 hours;
  • food and beverage advertising targeted at kids and teens influence their diet preferences and requests;
  • food commercials make up 50% of all the ad time on children’s shows; most of these ads promote unhealthy food products – 34% for candy and snacks, 28% for cereal, 10% for fast food, 4% for dairy products, 1% for fruit juices, and 0% fpr fruits and vegetables;
  • children of ages 8-12 are receiving the highest rates of ad exposure, since they are entering a critical development stage, in which they are establishing food habits, making their own food choices, and spending money on the types of food they like on their own.

To prevent fast food and fast food ads from affecting the life of their children, parents should keep the TV and the Internet out of the kid’s bedrooms. They should also limit non-educational viewing time to under 2 hours per day and try asking congress to moderate junk food advertising.

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Teen Obesity Can Lead to Adult Kidney Failure

Filed under: Teen Obesity Effects - 06 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, teen obesity can lead to yet another serious health condition: kidney failure. The study revealed that being overweight or obese as an adolescent is tied to higher risk of kidney failure by midlife.


Growing ranks of adults who will need dialysis or kidney transplants to replace their ailing organs are dark, but realistic consequences of the childhood obesity epidemic that has started to spread worldwide.

According to Halima Janjua, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital in Ohio, “we should not underestimate how much harm obesity can cause in our children and young adults. That is definitely something that this paper conveys”. Even though Janjua was not involved in the study, she clearly understands the numerous health risks that obesity in teenagers comes with.

The study was based on over 1.2 million Israeli 17-year-olds. The teenagers underwent thorough medical exams prior to starting mandatory stints in their country’s military service. After 25 years, those who were overweight or obese as adolescents were roughly 3 to 7 times more likely to be on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease as compared to normal-weight teens in the group.

Researchers followed 100,000 people and registered cases of end-stage kidney disease as follows:

- 2.32 cases among those who had been at a healthy weight as teenagers;
- 6.08 cases among adults who had been overweight;
- 13.4 cases among adults who had been obese when they entered the military.

End-stage kidney disease is a costly and complicated problem and obesity has been long recognized as a risk factor for this condition. However, doctors thought that the connection was an indirect one. This is because obesity is a major risk factor for both diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions that are known to damage the kidneys.

Researchers kept that in mind, though, as they only considered the cases of end-stage kidney disease in those who did not also suffer from diabetes. The associations with body weight remained, suggesting that too much body fat may be a more direct danger to the kidneys.

High blood pressure was not taken into consideration, though, so this condition may be another explanation. As blood pressure was only measured at the start of the study, researchers were unable to account for cases that developed later in life. This got experts to believe that high blood pressure may ultimately be a viable explanation for much of the higher risks.


Kirsten L. Johansen, MD, of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said that “it’s quite possible that the obese people were slightly more hypertensive and that does contribute, for sure, to the development and progression of kidney diseases”.

The nephrologist added that “this is one more reason why we really need to be concerned about overweight and obesity in kids”. Johansen was not involved in the research either, but she surely knows what she is talking about. And she is absolutely right!

Clearly, more and more health problems are adding up to the list of teen obesity effects and severe consequences.

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Binge Eating Disorder and Teen Obesity

Filed under: Teen Obesity Causes - 22 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Binge eating disorder (BED) is one of the most common eating disorders in the world. In the United States, 3.5% of females and 2% of men are suffering from it. This equals about 4 million people, making BED the most common eating disorder in this country. With a prevalence of up to 30% in those who want to lose weight, this disorder can often lead to obesity.


Recently classified as a separate eating disorder, BED was described for the first time in 1959 by researcher and psychiatrist Albert Stunkard as Night Eating Syndrome. The term “binge eating disorder” was coined to describe the same binging-type eating behavior without the exclusive nocturnal component.

Both men and women of all cultures and ethnicities are suffering from this disorder. However, it is almost twice as common among women than among men. Obese people suffering from BED often become overweight at an earlier age than people without the disorder. Also, they might lose and gain back weight more often.

In the video below, you can listen to Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) founder and CEO Chevese Turner revealing facts and research about this disorder and obesity.

There are certain signs that can indicate whether a person is suffering from binge eating disorder. These include:

- not exercising control over consumption of food;
- feeling loss of control over eating during binge;
- eating an unusually large amount of food at one meal, far more than an average person would eat;
- eating much more quickly during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes;
- eating until physically uncomfortable and nauseated due to the amount of food consumed;
- eating large amounts of food even when not really hungry;
- eating when depressed or bored;
- eating alone due to feelings of embarrassment about food;
- feeling depressed, disgusted or guilty after binge eating.

Binge eaters may miss school, parties and social events just so they can stay home and binge eat. Those with BED may take food to their room, lock the door and eat alone. They may also hide food under beds or in closets, so no one realizes they are binge eating. Odd eating habits such as eating food directly from a can or taking food from the garbage may also be present.


There are also certain risk factors that can lead to binge eating disorder. The most common ones are:

- childhood obesity;
- critical comments about weight;
- low self-esteem;
- depression;
- physical or sexual abuse in childhood.

The occurrence of binge eating has also been correlated to dietary restraint. Several researches have shown that the root of binge eating might be linked to rigid diet practices, despite binge eaters being often believed to simply lack self-control. A study in behavior genetics has also suggested that BED may have a genetic component.

In teenagers, it is very likely for binge eating disorder to be triggered by a traumatic event. Take Caroline (her name has been changed for confidentiality reasons). Following her parents’ divorce, she gained over 20 pounds. The 13-year-old felt alone and depressed, so she started to comfort herself with food. Lots of food. Day after day, she was binge eating. Six months and more than 20 pounds later, she realized she had a problem.

I remember the night my dad left, I went into the kitchen and devoured a dozen glazed donuts and a quart of milk”, Caroline said. “Still feeling hungry – but real sad – I took a bag of chips up to my room and ate them in the dark while sitting on my bed, crying”, the teenager revealed.


The environment may also contribute to both binge eating disorder and teen obesity. The mass media, family and peers of teens may send them mixed messages about food and weight than can encourage disordered eating. Since today’s society idealized thinness and stigmatizes fatness, no wonder that many teenagers have a low self-esteem and take refuge in food. Binge eating disorder can be treated, but it is very important for parents to pay more attention to their children’s eating habits and look for the BED signs.

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The Biggest Loser to Feature Obese Teen Contestants

Filed under: Real Stories - 12 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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The teen obesity epidemic has caught the attention of The Biggest Loser producers, the weight loss reality show airing on TLC. For its 14th season, the reality show is targeting a whole new demographic: overweight and obese teenagers. The bootcamp-style weight loss program will be taking on childhood and teen obesity for the first time.


Season 14 will premiere on TLC in January 2013 and will feature 3 teams of six contestants each, one of whom being a team of teens between the ages 13 and 17. NBC reported that the goal of host Jillian Michaels with the new season is to end childhood and teen obesity.

As a former overweight teen, I know firsthand how dramatically weight issues can affect every aspect of a child’s life”, Michaels said. She added that “having recently become a mother of two”, she is “more passionate than ever about helping empower children and families with the information and resources they need to live a healthier life”.

Jillian Michaels

The Biggest Loser host understood that teen obesity is a controversial topic and that handling it requires extra care. Here is what Michaels said in a recent interview with Al Roker of Today:

The producers of the show have been consulting some of the top experts — pediatricians, child psychologists — to help us deal with this in the most delicate and appropriate ways. For example, we won’t be saying things to kids like, ‘How much weight did you lose?’ It’s about getting them healthy, using words like ‘healthy.’ We won’t be getting them on a scale; it’s about getting them on a softball team — things like that. We’re very cognizant of how touchy it is, how controversial it is. And yet, of course, that’s right where I want to be, right in the sweet spot, right in the frying pan. I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be part of it.

The producers have also said that teens will not be subjected to the same tough-love treatment as the adult contestants of the previous seasons. Moreover, their weigh-ins will not be featured on the show and will not be subject to elimination. Michaels commented that the show focuses on the teens’ transformation regarding their health, and not their weight or clothing size.

However, including such young contestants in the new season is a decision that incited strong reactions. While some people are on board, others are against this idea. Among the critics, there are many concerned parents who have expressed their reservations about the teens being “exploited” on the show.

Jeanne Sager, a concerned mother, wrote on a blog that “three overweight kids are about to be put out on a national stage for the rest of us to gawk at. As a former fat kid, I’m going to come right out and say it: this might just be the WORST thing you can do to your overweight kid! I can only guess these poor kids are in for a whole lot of public shaming”.


While this is partially true, parents need to understand that the purpose of this show goes beyond exposing the overweight teens to the public. The producers’ efforts go beyond increasing the audience. It is true that many people will finger-point these teens, but at the end of the day, their health is way more important than who stares, who judges, and who criticizes.

Maybe this show is the perfect way for people to acknowledge the gravity of teen obesity and the numerous problems that this condition can bring in the life of both teenagers and their parents.

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New Study Links Sugary Drinks to Teen Obesity

Filed under: Teen Obesity Causes - 06 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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A new research conducted by the prestigious universities Harvard and Yale validates what many doctors and health advocates have been saying: sugar-sweetened beverages play a significant role in the teen obesity epidemic.

According to Sonia Caprio, endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics at Yale University, “calories from sugar-sweetened beverages do mater”. She also wrote that “the time has come to take action”.


The study looked at 224 overweight and obese adolescents in the 9th and 10th grade who drank either a 12-ounce sugary drink or 100% fruit juice on a daily basis. They were split by researchers into two groups:
– one which received a delivery of noncaloric beverages such as flavored-water, diet drinks and water every 2 weeks for one full year;
– one which received no noncaloric drinks, but were given a $50 gift card to a supermarket at intervals during the study, with no instructions on what to buy with it.

The researchers wanted to determine whether changing a teenager’s household environment to carry fewer sugary-sweetened drinks—with no behavioral intervention—would have an effect on weight.

As it turned out, simply swapping the drinks in the home for healthy beverages had a positive impact. CBS News reported: “After statistically ruling out other demographics so the only difference between groups would be sugary drink intake, teens who had the noncaloric deliveries gained an average of four fewer pounds over the course of a year than soda drinkers in the control group”.


The study was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine on September 20, 2012. The Wall Street Journal reported that the new study comes at the crest of an ongoing debate. According to Sonia Caprio, the findings “provide a strong impetus to develop recommendations and policy decisions to limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages”.

New York City Major Michael Bloomberg took notice of the results of this study and is consequently preparing to impose a ban on the sale of sugary beverages in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, and other city venues that teenagers may frequent. However, the study raised many objections from Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi Co Inc., the “icons of a $110 billion-a-year industry whose products have penetrated the remotest corners of the earth”, as described by the Los Angeles Times.

The American Beverage Assn., which represents the soda makers, released a statement saying that “sugar-sweetened beverages are not driving obesity”. They added that “by every measure, sugar-sweetened beverages play a small and declining role in the American diet”.

Meanwhile, the beverage ban is set to go into effect March 12. Even if the ban only applies to drinks containing more than 25 calories per 8 ounces, chances are that it will make a difference. The ban does not include beverages with more than 50% milk or 100% juice drinks.

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Meet Freddie Combs – An Obese with a Heavenly Voice

Filed under: Real Stories - 30 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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The X Factor is a very popular music competition franchise created by Simon Cowell. It originated in the United Kingdom, but is now held in numerous other countries. The contestants, aspiring pop singers drawn from public auditions, must impress the judges with their performance and convince them that they have the X factor in them. That X factor does not only refer to great vocal abilities, though, but to the overall package, which includes physical appearance, attitude, energy, stage presence and dancing moves.

This is why it may be hard to imagine how an obese man could possibly impress Simon Cowell and his fellow judges. However, Freddie Combs did. He managed to blow the judges away with his performance of the melodramatic ballad Wind Beneath My Wings at the final round of auditions for the US second season.


When his wife wheeled him out on the stage in front of the skeptical judges, it did not seem that Freddie had much of a chance. After starting to sing, though, everyone was impressed and he received a “yes” answer from all the judges. Britney Spears said he was “shockingly amazing” and L.A. Reid described his voice as “heavenly”, while Simon said:

Freddie, you know what, when I heard you sing I had a vision in my mind of you standing, singing that song, healthy, happy, and maybe you need some inspiration to help you in that next stage. I don’t think you deserve to be stuck in that chair, I really don’t. If we’re going to go forward, we have to make a deal with each other that we’re both gonna work hard … I’ll back you if you back yourself.

You can watch his touching performance in the video below.

Freddie fought obesity all his life. He revealed that he had weighed a whopping 920lbs just two years before the auditions. This disease nearly killed him, which is why he became aware of how important it was to lose weight. Using a combination of diet and exercise, he managed to shed 400lbs. He is still stuck in a wheelchair and is disabled because of obesity. However, the 40-year-old is determined to keep on fighting and lose more weight.

Since he was seated due to his size, Freddie used his hands to communicate while singing and to be expressive. This was an effective strategy, since his voice did more than his body could ever do. This Southern gentleman lives in North Carolina with his wife, whom he married 16 years ago. Even though he never used to get out of the house because of his condition, he found a refuge in music and now the whole world had the chance of hearing his voice. Freddie is a minister.

I was bedridden and never came out of the house. My music was never heard. My biggest dream would be to give hope to people who are my size”, he told viewers. “I hope the judges will look past my exterior and give a fat boy a chance”, the minister added.


Although many people will say that it seems unlikely for a clinically obese person to be able to keep up with the tough and rigorous music industry, Freddie’s perseverance is admirable. His desire to better himself is definitely inspiring, especially as he is keen on continuing to lose weight. And the judges loved him not because they felt sorry for him or felt sympathy due to his condition, but because he has an amazing voice and a wonderful personality.

His story should send an inspirational message to people worldwide, but especially to children and adolescents suffering from teen obesity. His motivation and determination are to be admired. Freddie Combs, a 40-year-old obese minister who tried his luck at The X Factor auditions, is the living proof that if you want to, you can make a change.

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First Anti-Obesity Vaccine Is Close to Reality

Filed under: Teen Obesity Management - 31 Jul 2012  | Spread the word !

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Obesity rates worldwide are increasing steadily, especially when it comes to kids and adolescents. While teen obesity is on the rise, doctors and parents have no clue what to do about this condition. In times when dieting, exercising and taking weight loss pills and supplements do not seem to work, what other viable option is there? Weight loss surgery is risky and not many people can afford it. Let alone that teen obesity is a serious condition that implies additional health problems, so submitting kids and adolescents to a surgical intervention can do more harm than good.

What could work then? A vaccine.

The Braasch Biotech LLC company has recently published a study called Effects of Novel Vaccines on Weight Loss in Diet-Induced Obese Mice. The study was published on July 9, 2012, in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology and it can forever change the lives of obese people. Braasch Biotech LLC is a privately owned company that specializes in the development on bio-pharmaceutical vaccine products for both human and veterinary healthcare markets.


The study was performed on several mice that were fed a high-fat diet up to the point of becoming obese. Then, they were given two different vaccines: JH17 and JH18. The mice in the control group received placebo injections. The mice were vaccinated twice. They received the first shot at the beginning of the experiment. Then, three weeks after the study kicked off, they were administered a booster vaccination.

The effects were spectacular. Only 4 days after the vaccination, the mice had dropped 10% of their body weight. On the other hand, the mice in the control group did not lose weight at all. By the end of the experiment, the vaccines managed to successfully induce antibodies to somatostatin without having any effect on the normal levels of growth hormone or insulin. The weight of the mice was significantly reduced, as opposed to the control mice.


Somatostatin is in charge with reducing the action of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Both of these hormones increase metabolism and result in weight loss. The vaccines contained modified somatostatin, which induced antibodies in order to identify somatostatin as a threat. Consequently, the antibodies fought it and allowed GH and IGF-1 to flourish, therefore leading to the mice losing weight.

Furthermore, the obese mice which got either of the two vaccines stopped gaining weight, even though they were fed the same high-fat diet. The next step of the experiment is testing the vaccines on humans. Naturally, further studies need to be done in order for the long term effects and implications of the vaccines to be discovered.


Also, there is an ongoing debate whether obesity should be considered a disease and therefore treated by means of vaccination. Obesity IS a disease, though, and scientists should clearly focus their efforts on coming up with the world’s first anti-obesity vaccine that could forever change the future of humanity. Additionally, treatment of obesity with vaccination could provide physicians worldwide with a drug and surgical-free remedy against this worrying global epidemic.

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Fast Food Leads to Fast Weight Gaining

Filed under: Teen Obesity Causes - 28 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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Most adolescents nowadays underestimate the high caloric intake of the meals they enjoy at fast food restaurants. The Perelman School of Medicine from University of Pennsylvania surveyed adolescents of ages 11 to 20 when stepping outside of food chains in 4 US cities. No less than 80% of them misjudged the actual calorie content of their meal. 30% of them underestimated the caloric amount by at least 500. Only 14% of the participants paid attention to the nutritional information in the restaurant, and just 3% actually saw and considered the information they saw when ordering. The findings were reported at the Obesity Society in Boston and are proof that fast food is one of the main reasons why teen obesity is on the rise.

A similar study conducted in New York City found that while most adolescents noticed the calorie information on the menu, only 9% of them actually considered the information when ordering. This means that despite the policy of restaurants having to display their products’ nutritional information on the menus, the number of those who take that information serious is insignificant. With an average caloric content of the meals of 746, these findings should ring an alarm sign. Not to mention that 28% of the participants purchased meals of 1,000 calories or more.


A person’s weight is determined by several factors, including genetics and activity level. However, the high fat, large number of calories and sodium content of fast food products can be a major cause of teen obesity and can prevent adolescents from losing weight. On the contrary, fast food leads to fast weight gaining, since the high fat and caloric content of these products can make it easy for adolescents to consume all of the calories they need for an entire day in a single meal. Since teenagers eat at least 3 times a day, you can realize that their caloric intake is 3 times bigger than their body needs.

The body does not burn the calories it does not need, so they get stored as fat and teens begin to gain weight at an alarming pace. The top-five sources of calories preferred by American teens include soda, deserts, hamburgers and pizza, which are all “provided” by fast food restaurants. From 1966 to 2005, overweight adolescents have consumed an average excess of 700 to 1,000 more calories, which led to an average weight gain of 58 extra pounds. Since adolescents want to be independent and are longing for the freedom of making their own choices, parents have become more permissive and have less control on what they eat.


Schools also play an important part in this matter, since most school menus offer fast food products. Even if they don’t, many fast food restaurants are strategically placed near schools. Kids are obviously tempted, so they would rather run to the fast food than enjoy a healthy meal at the school cafeteria. Moreover, teens spend more time away from home and thus make more choices about what they eat on their own. Unfortunately, these are not always the right choices, so teen obesity is just around the corner in most cases. Studies have shown that adolescents who live and go to school within a short distance of fast food restaurants are more likely to become obese than those who do not have such restaurants nearby.

Price should be taken into consideration as well, since fatty, greasy fast food products are often cheaper. However, they also contribute to the teens’ weight and body fat increasing. For instance, a meal consisting of a sandwich, fries and soda can not only provide a day’s worth of calories, buy also days’ worth of saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and cholesterol. Families often resort to fast food meals because parents have busy schedules that do not leave them much time for cooking. They would rather order some take out or going out instead of preparing a home cooked meal.


It is true that working families are in a tough position, but parents should understand how dangerous can the results of their actions be for their children. Think about their reduced physical activity as well and you will understand why the teen obesity rates have raised in the recent years. Once adolescents move on from being overweight to becoming obese, they will start to develop additional health problems. Maybe they will consider giving up fast food then…

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Helping Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Filed under: Teen Obesity Diet Tips and Plans - 30 May 2012  | Spread the word !

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Children and adolescents with poor eating habits are known to be at risk of developing teen obesity. As this condition is starting to become a global pandemic, parents are the ones who should take matter into their hands and help their children develop healthy eating habits that would help treat or prevent teen obesity. A couple of days ago, I ran into a friend of mine. She used to be quite chubby in high school. She said that she was not aware of how much she weighed until she started high school and realized that she was a size 14, while the other girls were a size 1. I then asked her if she knows why she was overweight growing up. Her answer was a little bit surprising. She believes that her parents made her fat because they would make her eat everything off her plate, without leaving a crumb of food on it.

Unfortunately, this is the case of many children and adolescents worldwide who start developing weight problems because of their parents. Their parents are also to blame for their poor eating habits, so here are some tips on how can parents change that. When it comes to dieting, parents should realize that it is not OK to place their overweight children on a restrictive diet over night. These changes should be made gradually. Also, parents should never tease their children about being obese and force them to lose weight just because they make them look bad. Remember that a restrictive diet should always be supervised by a doctor and should only be made for medical reasons. Another important fact to consider is that the eating habits that children pick up when they are young are hard to change. If those habits are healthy, then children will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults, as well.


If those habits are unhealthy, here are some approaches parents can take to change that.
- When it comes to dieting, the best approach is cutting down on fat intake, this means eating low-fat or nonfat dairy products, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free breads, cereals and whole grains.
- Mothers should not dictate foods. Instead, they should guide the choices of their families by always having a wide array of healthful foods around the house. If these foods are always available, children will start learning how to make healthy food choices on their own.
- Children should also be encouraged to eat slowly. Eating slowly does not only help them digest the food better, but also detect hunger and fullness better.
- All parents should be aware of the fact that eating meals together, as a family, is very important. Moreover, mealtimes should be pleasant moments, filled with conversation and sharing. Arguing and scolding during mealtime drives children to eat faster in order to leave the table as soon as possible. This may also cause children to associate eating with stress.
- Parents should also involve their children in the food-shopping and meal-preparing process. In this way, they will be able to learn about their children’s preferences. This will also give them the opportunity to teach their kids about nutrition. And it has been proved that children love eating foods that they helped prepare.


- Many children enjoy eating meals or snacks while watching TV. This habit should be discouraged by parents, since it only leads to overeating as they are having a hard time paying attention to feelings of fullness. This is why children should only eat in designated areas, regardless of whether these areas are dining rooms or kitchens.
- During the meals, parents should encourage their children to drink water instead of other sugary beverages, which are risk factors for teen obesity.
- Many parents use food to punish or reward their children. They should give up this habit, because children sent to bed without food worry that they will go hungry, so they will eat whenever they get the chance to. On the other hand, rewarding children with sweets after meals may lead children to believe that these foods are better than what they just had. If you think about it, this is how many children get wrong ideas about vegetables, for example.


- Now that we have covered mealtimes, here is a tip on children’s meals outside the home. Since parents cannot control what their children eat when they are at school and are surrounded with fast-food products, the risk of teen obesity increases. First of all, do not hesitate in planning for snacks at specific times during the day. Planned snacks are part of a nutritious diet, without spoiling a child’s appetite.
- Parents should also get informed on their children’s school lunch program. If they find it unhealthy, they should try including in their lunch pack a variety of nutritious foods. They should also be careful when dining at restaurants. It is best to select healthier items when going out, too. Teen obesity can be treated and prevented if parents keep these tips in mind and help their children develop healthy eating habits.

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