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Case Study – Teen Obesity, Popularity and Good Nutrition
From 1980 to 2004, the number of children and adolescents who were overweight or obese more than tripled. While obesity was not restricted by gender, race or socioeconomic status, the risk of obesity was slightly increased for those in poorer households. Girls are more likely to be overweight than boys, and Hispanic and African American teens are more likely to be obese than other races.
Young people, especially obese adolescents, face multiple problems caused by their weight. First, they face the same health problems as overweight adults, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Second, they face developmental issues due to weight and health issues, especially if they cannot attend school on time. Finally, they face social development issues as they struggle to develop their identities while dealing with peer pressure beyond that faced by ordinary children.
There are many reasons why children and adolescents are obese: they tend to eat unbalanced diets consisting mainly of fast food and very limited fruits and vegetables. In one study, boys and girls aged 10 to 15 admitted that french fries were the only vegetable they regularly ate. Another study showed that girls would eat other vegetables, but only if they were dipped in a cheese sauce.
In addition to poor food choices, they tend to be sedentary, and most of them spend most of their time in front of a TV or computer screen, or texting and talking on their cell phones. Finally, the parents of the children who were found to be the most overweight in the study were also overweight, suggesting that not only a genetic link could explain their weight, but also atmospheric factors. After all, the children of smokers are often smokers themselves, so it stands to reason that obese parents often have obese children.
The problem with weight and teens, especially girls, is that dieting and weight loss programs can often backfire. In a three-year study that monitored boys and girls ages 9 to 14, dieters ended up gaining more weight than those who didn’t diet at all. A different approach is necessary when dealing with overweight young children and adolescents. First, the family must fully agree that there is a problem. In recent years, some school districts have come under fire for sending family letters about their children’s weight and health risks. Parents either don’t realize that their children may develop “adult” health problems like type 2 diabetes or heart disease, or they don’t accept that their children are anything but “chunky” or “husky.” Not wanting to face legal repercussions, the school district stopped notifying parents and hoped the child’s doctor would take up the fight.
It’s normal for girls to gain body fat during puberty; it’s just the way women’s bodies work. At this time, it is common for girls to start paying more attention to their appearance, and many of them develop eating disorders due to dissatisfaction with what they see and hear. It should also be noted that these girls were more likely to suffer from depression, which may also increase their chances of gaining weight.
Boys started to put on more muscle and gained height, which made them feel more satisfied with their bodies, while young girls became less and less satisfied with what they saw in the mirror. By age 15, more than half of girls in 16 countries were on a diet. The US is the country where girls are most concerned about their weight, with 47 percent of 11-year-old girls and 62 percent of 15-year-old girls dieting. Race plays a big role in how girls feel about their bodies, with African-American girls being more physically satisfied than their Caucasian counterparts.
While most believe that peer pressure influences body dissatisfaction in teens, a study suggests that’s not the case. In fact, peer pressure was the third most influential factor behind media imagery and parental attitudes. It is important to recognize that young girls who are overly concerned with their body image as presented in the media (including magazines, television, and movies) are more likely to develop depression and eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Ironically, this group of girls is also most likely to do the opposite and gain weight on purpose because they say they will never look like the women they see on a daily basis.
its not as simple as a diet
Obviously, it’s not as simple as advising these kids to go on a diet. It’s a matter of changing the whole family’s attitudes about weight, nutrition and body image, and exercise. It’s hard to believe that a 15-year-old girl or boy is content to eat fresh fruits and vegetables while mom, dad and siblings are eating burgers and fries. It’s also impossible to believe that these teens would voluntarily get off the couch and away from their video games, movies, or other electronics to exercise without someone else doing the same. It is necessary for everyone to work on changing how they feel about food and weight so that children don’t feel “sick” or “different.”
Behavior and attitude therapy must be addressed or the weight will not change, at least not in a positive way.
Renee and Family: A Positive Case Study
Renee was whining about gym class again when she suddenly collapsed on the gym floor. The panicked school rushed her to the emergency room and called her mother. The outspoken and outspoken doctor explained to Renee’s mother that her daughter was 55 pounds overweight and that if changes were not made immediately, she would die in the corpse of a middle-aged woman. Renee’s episodes were her body’s reaction to not getting enough oxygen in gym class, and if she didn’t make changes, the situation would continue to worsen. A follow-up appointment is scheduled for Renee and her parents in two days.
During this appointment, Renee, her mother, Emily, and her father, Doug, met with a doctor and a nutritionist who all agreed the family needed to make changes for everyone. Never believing he was overweight, Doug chose to leave the room. Emily, however, listens carefully to how to make small changes, one at a time, so the family doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Renee and she headed to the grocery store with a new list of fruits and vegetables, as well as recipes for turkey and chicken dishes that suited them better than the red meat they’d been eating. They learned how to use nonfat yogurt instead of mayonnaise and how to add more vegetables to their meals without anyone actually seeing.
Both Renee and Emily agree to join a women-only gym so they can work out without the mental difficulties preventing them from doing so. Another change they made was to eat small meals, spread out throughout the day so they weren’t overly hungry. Both Renee and her mother took protein supplements between breakfast and lunch and after dinner. It provides them with high-quality protein and keeps them from feeling hungry without the high calories of other protein supplements.
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