Obesity In Teens: Causes, Risks, And Prevention

Teen obesity is a complex health issue that occurs due to the intertwining of multiple factors. The condition may increase the risk of several chronic disorders, such as type-2 diabetes, in the long run. Chronic health issues may eventually affect the teen’s growth and quality of life.

As a parent, you may feel apprehensive about this scenario. Thankfully, timely intervention can improve the health of teens experiencing obesity and also prevent the condition.

This post tells you about the possible causes of teen obesity, its diagnosis, treatment, and effective ways to prevent it.

When Is A Teen Categorized As Obese?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a teen with a BMI at or above 95th percentile for the same age and gender is considered obese (1). BMI or body mass index is one’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters square (kg/m2).

To determine a teen’s percentile, you need to calculate their BMI and plot it on the CDC’s growth chart. Below is the interpretation of the BMI percentiles in terms of weight category.

Percentile Range For BMI

WEIGHT CATEGORYPERCENTILE RANGE
UnderweightLess than 5th percentile
Normal or healthy5th percentile to less than 85th percentile
Overweight85th percentile to less than 95th percentile
Obese95th percentile or greater

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Note: BMI cannot determine the quantity of body fat. If precise body fat levels are desired, then BMI should be correlated with direct methods of body fat assessment, such as skinfold thickness measurement, bioelectrical impedance (BIA), and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Once a teen’s weight category is known, determining the possible causes for excess weight gain is necessary to take corrective measures.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Teen Obesity?

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