Teen Obesity: Causes and Consequences
A lot has been said about the causes and consequences of teen obesity. As weight loss specialists and bariatric surgeons here at Teen Time Bariatrics, we help you understand the research that underpins weight loss surgery for teens. And we help you understand the options you have as a teenager to avoid the long term consequences of teen obesity.
Causes For Teen Obesity
Teen obesity and child obesity rates are rising steadily in Australia and the rest of the world. Adolescent obesity is not just a simple imbalance of energy in and energy out. It is a complex interaction between environmental, genetic, nutritional and socio economic factors.
As bariatric surgeons in Perth, we follow the trends and we monitor our own data, after 20 years experience in this field here at Mercy Bariatrics. Now that we have launched a dedicated program that offers weight loss surgery to adolescents, it is important to look at the facts and the Australian data.
Teen obesity causes are linked to the following facts and observations:
- If both parents are obese, the likelihood of their children also being obese is 80%.
- There have been huge changes in the availability, cost and marketing of larger portions of energy rich foods.
- Our daily physical activity has reduced as sedentary pastimes like screen time have increased.
- Many medications and genetic disease are now influencing our obesity eg antidepressants.
- Higher obesity rates are more common in lower socio-economic groups and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
- Higher obesity rates are also seen in single parent families and families living in rural areas.
Problems Associated With Teen Obesity
Obesity in adolescents is not a benign condition. Obesity adversely affects every bodily system and will eventually lead to higher rates of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnoea
- Fatty Liver
- Joint and bone Problems
- Psychological problems
- Bullying and school and learning problems
Our teenagers are experiencing the same illness that we thought only adults would suffer from and the damage that it causes is often more accelerated and more severe.
For example, An obese adolescent with Type 11 Diabetes is statistically predicted to have their lifespan reduced by 15 years!
All of this is going to result in a significant reduction in lifespan and quality of life… And that is exactly why as experienced weight loss surgeons in Perth, we have launched Teen Time Bariatrics, offering weight loss surgery to younger patients.
Child And Teenager Obesity: Won't I Just Grow Out Of It?
The assumption that, as an adolescent, you will simply grow out of your obesity, is a very dangerous myth:
Our likelihood for being obese is largely determined before the age of 10 .The probability that a child who is obese at age 10 will be obese at age 35 is 0.8 ( 8 out of 10) if morbidly obese at age 10 it is closer to 1.0 at the age of 35.
Why Can't I Exercise This Weight Off?
Burning Off Calories
You have to do an awful lot of vigorous exercise to burn off the calories in what we have come to think of as just a little snack.
- Exercise by itself is a very inefficient vehicle for weight loss.
- Exercise often produces an increase in appetite that results in us just eating more.
Where exercise is important, is in potentiating the effect of a diet or bariatric surgery and to improve general fitness.
Also because it engages us with others and it is fun!
Can Surgery Help For Teen Obesity?
Once a child or adolescent is in the morbidly obese range, the most powerful and effective vehicle for meaningful and long lasting weight loss is surgery.
Not only will it deliver weight loss it is also the most reliable method for resolving many of the diseases related to obesity. The key is early intervention before the damage has been done.
Teen Time Bariatrics – part of Mercy Bariatrics weight loss surgeons in Perth, is all about bringing together the right expertise. Not just to assess if you are a candidate for teen weight loss surgery, also to prepare and support you. At Teen Time Bariatrics, our process is not just a clone of the adult bariatrics procedure.
We are the first practice in Perth to have created a specialised program for teenagers who consider weight loss surgery. If you have any questions around teen obesity, please contact the clinic and our friendly team will be happy to assist you.