Obesity among Teenagers

Obesityamong Teenagers

Obesityamong Teenagers

Accordingto the most recent studies, obesity is one of the most prevalentnutritional disorders in the United States. The weight issues haveincreased over the past two decades for Americans across all ages.Scholars have tried to understand the reasons behind the chronicweight problems, but there are no exact answers. Despite theconflicting theories, the predominant evidence points to too muchfood and minimal exercises as some of the leading causes of obesity.However, other issues can also result in weight problems such asgenetic and hormonal factors (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014). Theoverweight issues have also become common among teenagers, which hasled to severe medical conditions. Studies show that one-third ofyoung people in the United States are obese, and the number iscontinually increasing. A person is considered obese when their totalweight is more than the recommended body mass of his or her heightand structure (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014). Mainly,adolescents have fewer weight-related medical problems as compared toadults. Nevertheless, obese youths will most likely be overweighteven in adulthood hence, they are vulnerable to chronic illnesseslater in life (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014). The young peoplewhose parents or siblings are obese are susceptible to weightproblems, but this trend can also be linked to the shared familybehaviors such as physical activities and eating habits. Then again,the American society is characterized by an environment that promotesincreased consumption of fast foods and embraces inactivity.Therefore, it is difficult for teenagers to make healthy choices andengage in exercises when other people in the community are choosingthe contrary options (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014).


Thisarticle will discuss the problem teenage obesity since it has becomean alarming issue in the society. Studies indicate that the conditionis one of the easiest to recognize, but the most difficult to treat.Research explains that obesity and overweight are the second leadingcauses of preventable deaths in the United States. According toVoigt, Nicholls &amp Williams, approximately 17 percent ofadolescents in the United States are obese (2014). Overweight teensare at a higher risk of developing other health problems as comparedto their age mates with healthy body mass. Voigt, Nicholls &ampWilliams indicate that obesity can result in other illnesses such asdiabetes, high blood pressure, sleeping disorders, and increased riskof heart disease (2014).On the other hand, pubertyis a critical stage in life, which involves several physical andpsychological changes in the body. Therefore, young people aresensitive about their appearance since they try to conform to thesociety’s notion of beauty. As such, obese teenagers develop a lowself-esteem because they are usually less popular among their peers.Consequently, teens with weight issues can have emotional problems asthey grow older (Voigt, Nicholls &amp Williams, 2014).


Today,about one in every three American teenagers is overweight.Accordingly, most parents are concerned about their children’sweight due to various health problems it brings, which were notpreviously witnessed until adulthood (AmericanHeart Association, 2016). Excess weight has been associatedwith an early risk of obesity-related illnesses and death. Therefore, attaining and maintaining a suitable body weight issignificant to ensure a long healthy life (AmericanHeart Association, 2016). According to research, anindividual’s weight should be changed gradually hence, it isimportant to focus on small, but permanent eating and activitypatterns that will have a long-term effect on body mass. Moreover,the teenager must maintain the acquired healthy habits long after theinitial treatment (American Heart Association,2016).

Teenageobesity is associated with many health risks such as walkingdifficulties, kidney problems, and asthma (Ellis,2013).According to Dr. Thomas of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, when aperson has more body mass, it increases their chances of developingdiabetes or heart disease. Additionally, he explains that obese teenswill encounter more health challenges as they grow older. A long-termstudy on unhealthy body weight showed that obese adolescents usuallyhave at least one medical condition when they enter adulthood (Ellis,2013).For instance, these teens will most likely to develop skin ulcers andswollen legs. Besides, they tend to have asthma, polycystic ovarysyndrome, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea as compared to theirage mates who have a healthy weight. Therefore, it is important toeducate families on obesity and the short and long-term issuesassociated with a high body mass index in teenagers (Ellis,2013).

Theweight problems in children and adolescents have recently increaseddue to social and lifestyle changes. Statistics show that obesityresults in over 300,000 deaths every year and an estimated annualcost of approximately $100 billion (AACAP,2016).Research suggests that obese children between the ages of ten andthirteen have an eighty percent chance of being an overweight adult. Even so, it is possible to treat obesity through the help of healthcare professionals in partnership with the parents and relatives(AACAP,2016).Accordingly, obese teenagers require a thorough medical examinationto evaluate the possibility of physical disorder that might cause theweight problems. On the other hand, if overweight is not brought by aphysical disease, the teenager can be advised to reduce the intake ofcalories and have regular exercises (AACAP,2016).Nonetheless, an obese person has to be careful not to regain theweight by falling back into their old eating habits. For instance,the individual has to learn how to enjoy their favorite foods inmoderation (AACAP,2016).Then again, some obese teenagers have emotional problems thus, theyrequire the help of psychiatrists to formulate comprehensivetreatment plan that includes dietary and exercises management, familyinvolvement, behavior modification, and reasonable weight loss goals(AACAP,2016).

Themodern lifestyles mainly cause unhealthy weight. Most teenagerschoose to engage in indoor activities such as watching television andplaying video games rather than working out (Park,2010).Moreover, most public schools are progressively reducing the physicaleducation classes due to funding and curriculum requirements, whichhave left teens with more time to engage in their inactivelifestyles. On the other hand, the prevalence measures have increasedover the recent years, but the level of physical exercises has notdeclined (Park,2010).Therefore, reduced physical activity is not the reason behindobesity, but rather it is caused by an increase in food consumed. Nevertheless, this does not mean that physical activities are not anessential factor in controlling body mass. Exercises only work if theteen can maintain a healthy routine and diet. Accordingly, studiesshow that even a small alteration in energy balance can have aconsiderable effect on an individual’s weight (Park,2010).

Conversely,it is important for nurses to take up leadership duties in fightingthe problem of obesity in American societies (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).The weight problems do not suggest a complete unfamiliarity with thecondition because these issues have been well documented in theliterature and the media. Instead, the challenges are mainlyconnected to the society’s failure to take the necessary stepsbased on the knowledge provided (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010). However, several factors have made it difficult for the communitiesto take the appropriate actions. These reasons provide the nurseswith the chance to take up the role of advocates in altering thesocietal conditions that inhibit the efforts against obesity,particularly in teenagers. Parental knowledge and dietary habits havea significant effect on weight-related issues in their children(Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).For instance, some parents may pressure their kids to eat a lot offood thus, it affects the child’s perception about food andweight. Consequently, it is important to include parents whendeveloping an intervention to deal with teenage obesity becausefamily support is vital in ensuring that the individual attains hisor her goals. As such, the nurses must be ready to participate in theinitiatives to reduce weight problems in their communities. Thehealth care professionals can use the social learning theory to teachthe guardians new ways in which they can promote physical activitiesamong teenagers (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).Additionally, they have to assess the willingness of the parents toembrace a lifestyle change that is necessary to prevent obesity intheir children. The nurses also have to use counseling strategiesthat engage the guardians in conversations about actions that maycontribute to obesity (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).Consequently, they form prevention techniques and advice theguardians on various steps that can eliminate weight-related problemsin the family. Nevertheless, it is crucial to listen to the parents’responses and address the challenges they may encounter (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).

Variouscontributions and roles the nurse holds in healthcare

Likewise,the nurses have to apply their skills and consider critical factorsin the community when preventing teenage obesity. Therefore, thesehealth care professionals should recognize the changing condition inthe society by assessing the level and type of prevention that ismost appropriate for the youths, their families, cultural beliefs,socioeconomic status, and the environment. For example, a nurse canchoose to increase the physical activities for teenagers by enrollingthem in various exercise programs such as dancing (Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).On the other hand, they can encourage the use of healthy fats whencooking, especially in the fast food restaurants. The efforts toprevent childhood and teenage obesity will require the nurses toadvocate for policies that will promote the necessary changes tocreate a suitable environment for people to deal with weight problems(Berkowitz&amp Borchard,&nbsp2010).

Ethicalissues and decisions faced in healthcare

Nonetheless,when choosing a treatment option that is most helpful for anoverweight teenager, the primary consideration is whether obesity iscompromising his or her health. Subsequently, the nurse must evaluatethe success of other accessible weight loss options. Although themedical professional must decide if the teenager can accomplish thenecessary tasks, it is important to ensure that the guardian consentsto the treatment (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014). However, thisbecomes a problem when the parents or the adolescent refuse thetreatment plan and instead opt for another option, which according tothe health care provider may not be the most beneficial. Besides, thenurses also encounter challenges when the parents and teens disagreeon the best treatment and prevention methods (Tulchinsky &ampVaravikova, 2014). It is usually important to ensure that a teenagermaintains good eating habits and physical fitness even after losingweight. Therefore, the healthy routines must be observed irrespectiveof the weight (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova, 2014). Even so,motivation is necessary when losing weight because these issues areusually a family problem. Consequently, guardians and relatives playa crucial role in boosting the teenagers’ self-esteem andencouraging them to attain their goals (Tulchinsky &amp Varavikova,2014).

Variousglobal healthcare delivery systems

Differentorganizations are funding the initiatives to prevent weight problemsamong teenagers. For example, the mission of the Prevention Centerfor Healthy Weight is to promote positive primary care and individualchange in communities to eliminate the obesity in the United States(HRSA,2016).Furthermore, the organization has developed community-based andmedical interventions to prevent and treat overweight among childrenand their families. The initiative has recruited fifty teams from allover the country to expand the organization’s objectives in thecommunities without limiting those efforts to the clinician’soffice (HRSA,2016).

Additionally,the health centers provide primary care for most people irrespectiveof their financial capabilities. These clinics help patients managesome of their health conditions such as diabetes, high bloodpressure, and other illnesses associated with obesity (HRSA,2016).These centers collaborate with the National Institute of Health toprevent and treat overweight issues among teenagers between the agesof eight and thirteen. On the other hand, the health centers developtheir distinct programs that mainly focus on preventing childhoodobesity by offering nutrition education and encouraging physicalexercises for their patients (HRSA,2016).

Therural health outreach also provides services that guarantee thesociety has developed techniques to deal with overweight. Thesefoundations attain their goals through individual and familyeducation, fitness programs, and clinical campaigns centered onpreventing obesity (HRSA,2016).Then again, the maternal and child health centers offer medicalservices to children, mothers, and their families (HRSA,2016). The states using these centers identify obesity reduction as one ofthe priorities. Furthermore, they use various performance measures toevaluate the progress each territory is making towards achievingtheir objectives (HRSA,2016).

ProgramLevel Student Learning Outcomes

Ihave selected the learning outcome five on how to applyguidelines to improve practice and the care environment because itcan determine how health care providers promote a healthy lifestyleto reduce obesity (Voigt,Nicholls &amp Williams, 2014).Theissue of overweight has been attributed to numerous causes includingbiological factors, diet habits, parental knowledge, andenvironmental issues. Unhealthy weight is mainly acquired when anindividual consumes more calories but does not engage in any physicalactivities to burn the excess fats. Alternatively, some teenagersbecome overweight due to biological factors because obesity runs intheir family. Therefore, despite the cause of obesity, it isimperative to promote a healthy way of life through proper diets andregular exercises (Voigt, Nicholls &amp Williams, 2014).Furthermore, the health care providers have to be actively engaged inthe communities’ efforts topromote a healthy lifestyle and reduce obesitythrough proper diets and regular exercises(Voigt,Nicholls &amp Williams, 2014).


Teenageobesity in the United States is increasing drastically with ninemillion adolescents being affected by this condition. Studies showthat the leading cause of weight issues is unhealthy diet andinactivity due to the modern lifestyles where teenagers spend most oftheir time undertaking indoors activities such as watching televisionand playing videos games. In spite of this, the condition can also becaused by the society’s environment, which encourages unhealthymeals such as junk food because they are affordable and readilyavailable. In some cases, a physical disorder can cause obesity, butin its absence, the adolescent can lose weight by lowering the intakeof unhealthy foods and increase the level of exercise. Therefore, thehealth care providers have to become active in fighting obesity amongyoung people. Besides, they have to encourage caregivers to adopt alifestyle that does not have adverse impacts on their children’shealth. However, obesity can only be eliminated if teenagers do notfall back into their unhealthy lifestyles. Hence, the parents andrelatives have to provide continuous support to ensure that the youngpeople take on a healthier way of life despite the drastic changes inlifestyles due to modernization and technological advancements.


AmericanAcademy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).(2016). Obesity in Children andTeens. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Obesity-In-Children-And-Teens-079.aspx

AmericanHeart Association. (2016). Overweightin Children. Retrieved fromhttp://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp#.V-Ci4oWcHmJ

Berkowitz,&nbspB.,&amp Borchard,&nbspM. (2010). Advocating for the Prevention ofChildhood Obesity: A Call to Action for Nursing OJIN:The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(1).Retrieved fromhttp://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol142009/No1Jan09/Prevention-of-Childhood-Obesity.html

Ellis,&nbspM.(2013). Teen obesity linked toserious health problems in adulthood – Medical News Today.Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268983.php

Park,A. (2010). Teen Obesity: Lack of Exercise May Not Be to Blame. TheBrief. Retrieved fromhttp://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1936777,00.html

Tulchinsky,T. H., &amp Varavikova, E. (2014). Thenew public health.Amsterdam: Academic Press.

U.S.Dept. of Health &amp Human Services (HRSA).(2016). Healthy Weight, HealthyPeople, Healthy Communities.Retrieved from http://www.hrsa.gov/healthyweight/

Voigt,K., Nicholls, S. G., &amp Williams, G. (2014). ChildhoodObesity: Ethical and policy issues.New York: Oxford University Press.