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Heavy Teens Have A Higher Risk Of Becoming Heavy Adults
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Heavy Teens Have A Higher Risk Of Becoming Heavy Adults

Teens who can be classified as overweight or obese increase their risk of being even heavier when they are thirty years old says a new study recently completed by the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. While other studies have certainly established the link between being overweight as a child or teen and then remaining heavy in adulthood, however, this may be the first study to clearly show what happens in the longer term.

Weight is a critical health crisis for people of all ages with ⅓ of all children in the United States being overweight or obese. For adults, the number is even higher, with ⅔ of them above their optimal weight. Higher body weight equals a much higher risk of developing a number of very serious chronic conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and a number of various types of cancer.

In the study, the height and weight records for over 9000 teens, ranging in age from 12-21, nationwide was tracked and analyzed for thirteen years. The researchers found that ¾ of all of the obese teens were also obese when they reached the age of 30 but only a very small percentage of normal weight teens have become obese in the same time period. While some weight gain is normal when the teen reaches the end of their growth cycle and their muscles mature, it does not account for the high level of weight gain that is being seen in many of these young adults.

The years between the teens and age 30 are typically high stress times, filled with major life changing events including going to college and starting a career, marriage and having children. During this time, most of the teens are busy eating out, not getting enough sleep and not exercising at all.

The study concludes that eating, exercise and health habits start early and then continue through life. It also shows how difficult that changing these habits can actually be. The problem can also cause a backfire, leading to an increased risk of eating disorders and extreme weight loss methods such as taking diet pills or abusing laxatives. The study emphasizes the need to tread carefully but to educate children about their health, their diet and their fitness goals. It is equally important for parents to be educated about the dangers of extreme weight loss and to always watch for potential warning signs. These include hoarding food, empty laxative packages and a number of other, potentially serious, physical conditions.

In another study, it was revealed that only 12. 2% of students in high school fail to meet the national standards for physical health and fitness. Those students did get the three days of weight lifting exercise that is recommended. Boys are far more likely to meet the exercise standards than girls are. The disparity between the genders is often explained by participation in sports for the boy which in many schools may be focused on more than girls sports.

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