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Obesity among adolescent: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Modern health care system addresses a range of issues related to obesity. Obesity is considered a medical concern among children, adolescents, and adults. Therefore, the researchers initiate the studies, which can describe the risk factors that are connected with obesity and design programs that may help to improve the situation in the United States and other countries. An accent is placed on treatment strategies and preventive measures. Considering the fact that obesity often develops at the early years of life, it is crucial to define the eating habits that the public schools form. Furthermore, the complications that obesity causes may easily lead to various disorders and even lethal outcome. To prevent people from experiencing the situations mentioned above, one must carefully examine the connection between obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes.


Obesity and Related Diseases

Adolescents belong to the group of high risk of developing obesity and related disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of adolescents who suffer from obesity has doubled over the past 30 years (Winterfeld, 2014). The results of the research demonstrate that the percentage of individuals of age from 12 to 19 being diagnosed with obesity increased from 5 percent of adolescents in 1980 to almost 21 percent in 2012 (Winterfeld, 2014, p. 1). Certain sources indicated lower incidence of obesity approximately 17% of American children and adolescents (Wooton & Melchior, 2016). The rates are still high and may be associated with several factors. The main reasons that lead to obesity are believed to be genetic predisposition, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy food habits (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). In addition, social aspects and physical environment are considered to be the contributing factors as well.

Studies emphasize the connection between obesity and heart diseases. Thus, the doctors often diagnose cardiovascular disease in obese patients. According to the statistics, 635,000 individuals died from cardiovascular disease in the USA in 2012 (Wooton & Melchior, 2016). Obesity has adverse impact on health; it increases blood pressure and the level of cholesterol that leads to heart diseases emergence. (Winterfeld, 2014). According to the research, approximately 70% of obese patients who are younger than 17 have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (Winterfeld, 2014, p. 1). The risk increases with age.

Another medical issue associated with obesity is diabetes. Obesity is one of the major factors that can lead to diabetes including type 2 one. Existing data show that about 8.3% of the population and 19,000 adolescents develop diabetes (Wooton & Melchior, 2016). The connection between diabetes and obesity bases on insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance as well as impaired glucose tolerance (Wooton & Melchior, 2016). One should note that healthcare providers try to draw special attention to the issue of obesity and related diseases and emphasize the need for implementing the treatment plans for children and adolescents.

Treatment Strategies for Obesity

There is a set of available measures that may help to manage obesity. For example, adults often consider pharmacotherapy, behavior modification, nutrition changes, physical activities, and surgery the suitable variants. However, some of these options may have negative impact on adolescents. Therefore, it is important to choose a strategy that is beneficial for health and has a limited number of side-effects. In practice, appropriate intervention helps to treat obesity and prevent complications associated with it.

Treatment strategies include primary and secondary prevention. This approach allows patients with obesity to avoid serious interventions. One should understand that primary prevention assists in managing obesity while secondary one targets the complications of this condition (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). The most suitable strategies for adolescents focus on appropriate nutrition, increased physical activity, and behavior modification (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). The purpose of nutrition control is the achievement of proper energy balance through reducing consumption of extra calories. The strategy suggests increasing energy expenditure and providing an organism with necessary food and activities (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). This approach is often used in the combination with behavior modification. The latter involves physical activities aimed at losing weight. Furthermore, psychological therapy that helps to achieve positive results is also a part of treatment (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). However, certain patients organisms do not respond to these measures. In case weight reduction program does not bring results, the specialists recommend to apple other strategies.

In complicated cases, in which the risk of developing obesity-related disorders, for example, diabetes and heart diseases arises, pharmacologic treatment is suggested. In such situations, doctors may prescribe appetite suppressors, for instance, orlistat to adolescents (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). In addition, healthcare providers may give their young patients sibutramine for treatment of obesity (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). Surgical intervention is another possible measure, which can help patients to lose weight. This strategy is complicated but its results are still significant. In particular cases, bariatric surgery is able to decrease the number of obesity-related comorbidities.

Influence of Public School on Eating Habits

Basic eating habits develop during the early years of life. Public schools serve as institutions that help to form eating habits and make them healthy or unhealthy. Scientists include schools into the physical environment that may contribute to the development of obesity. In certain cases, public schools provoke the formation of unhealthy food patters that lead to overweight and obesity. The statement bases on the fact that while approximately 55.3 million children attend schools, proper nutrition programs that these schools follow rarely exist (Winterfeld, 2014). Even though there were certain changes over the past years, schools continue to form unhealthy eating habits today.

The problem lies in the fact that there is a variety of products that are accessible at schools. Generally, children can buy snacks and beverages on the learning institution territory. What is more, schools accept this practice because they rely on supplemental revenue from these sales (Winterfeld, 2014, p. 10). Thus, there are special meal programs but snacks do not follow the nutrition standards (Winterfeld, 2014). Therefore, excessive calories intake is not controlled or regulated (Winterfeld, 2014). This tendency is a contributing factor that leads to the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.

It is important to improve the eating culture at schools. Imposing new nutrition standards can regulate and monitor the work of food service agencies. Therefore, schools may use the menus, which are more balanced, to prevent obesity. New food planning systems include serving increased amount of fruits and vegetables (Bergman et al., 2014). These systems are based on the standards that adhere to the calorie ranges that are appropriate for different age groups (Bergman et al., 2014). Implementation of similar programs may help to reduce the rate of obese children and adolescents in the future.

Plant-based Diet as a Preventive Measure

The specialist in nutrition commonly recommend diets for fighting obesity. It is crucial to mention that diets are included into nutrition improvement programs as a preventive measure. According to studies, plant-based diets are the most beneficial for people who suffer from obesity or faces the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Plant-based diets present the combination of vegetarian and vegan ration (Turner-McGrievy, Mandes, & Crimarco, 2017). Therefore, they include fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, eggs, and dairy products (Turner-McGrievy, Mandes, & Crimarco, 2017). This type of nutrition excludes unhealthy sugar-containing beverages and snacks (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). The given dietary pattern experienced examination in several epidemiological studies and was considered a preferable option for managing obesity and complications, which it might cause (Turner-McGrievy, Mandes, & Crimarco, 2017). One of the advantages of plant-based diets is that they are adapted to the needs of an individual.

Plant-based diets may become a preventive measure and a treatment approach. According to the Academy of Nutrition, these diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases (as cited in Turner-McGrievy, Mandes, & Crimarco, 2017, p. 370). This approach is effective and helps to reduce the rates of children and adolescents who suffer from obesity (Koyuncuoglu, 2014). What is more, plant-based diets may assist in fighting chronic diseases and improving a patients life. The mechanism of work of these diets focuses on balancing calorie intake that results in weight loss.



Obesity is diagnosed in different groups of population. One of the current concerns is high incidence of obesity cases among adolescents. Several factors, among which are limited physical activity, genetic predisposition, unhealthy eating habits as well as unfavorable social and physical environments, lead to obesity development. It is important to remember that other serious diseases often follow obesity. For example, diabetes and heart diseases are among the complications that commonly occur in obese patients. Therefore, various treatment strategies may prevent the above-mentioned problems and manage the given condition as well. These approaches include pharmacotherapy, behavior modification, nutrition changes, physical activity, and surgery. However, pharmacotherapy and surgery are not the best options for children and adolescents since they may lead to negative consequences. Therefore, the researchers emphasize the benefits of specialized diets. Plant-based diets are believed to be among the most effective strategies that help to treat obesity and comorbidities related to it. The question of proper nutrition is also discussed in the context of public schools. The influence of schools on the formation of eating habits is significant. Therefore, the country creates and implements a range of programs that can improve food consumption culture at schools. Thus, positive results are expected in the future.

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