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Weight Management

Facts about obesity:

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 15 percent of children ages 6 to 11 in the United States are considered overweight and 15 percent of teenagers (ages 12 to 19) are overweight. More people are now overweight than 15 years ago. This increase is seen in both sexes and all ages. Individuals who are obese as adolescents will most likely remain obese as they become older.

What is obesity?

Obesity is defined as a generalized accumulation of body fat. Obesity is determined by measuring both the height and weight of the adolescent. An adolescent is considered obese if he/she is significantly over the ideal weight for his/her height. Overweight is defined as increased body size with increased lean body mass and without excess accumulation of body fat. A uniform standard to separate obesity from overweight has not been established. Research studies suggest that overweight adolescents may become overweight adults.

What causes teens to become overweight?

The following are some of the factors that may contribute to overweight adolescents:

Weight management:

Picture of an adolescent female being weighed by her physician

The basis of treatment for obesity in children and adolescents involves diet changes and exercise. It is important for parents and the adolescent to be ready and willing to make the change. Generally, weight loss is not recommended for babies and young children who are still growing and developing. The goal of treatment for these children is to maintain their weight while they continue to grow taller. Weight reduction may be recommended for obese adolescents who have completed their growth. The following are some of the general guidelines that may be followed in treating your adolescent.

For children older than 7 years of age:

What can I do as parent to help with the management of obesity?

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Adolescent Medicine


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