The effect of obesity on adolescent development

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The issue of childhood obesity has for over the recent years becoming a growing epidemic and a nationwide trend within the United States. Moreover, over the past decades, the percentage of overweight adolescents has doubled, with approximately 15 percent of adolescent being considered as obese (Paxton, 2015). Regardless of obesity being the easiest condition to be recognized, it often tends to be a difficult condition to treat. The effects of obesity on the development of adolescent range from physical, emotional, and social development.


Obesity among the affected individuals has been associated with a number of disorders which have an impact on the development of adolescents. Excess body weight linked to obese adolescences exert some stress on their bodies’ skeletal framework, which can contribute to a number of orthopedic disorders (Thompson, 2016). The adolescents with obesity are likely to suffer from bow-legged deformities, kneecap pressure, and low back pain. The adolescents are extremely susceptible to these health issues. This is mainly because they are still in the process of growth, which is essential in making their bodies become strong. Moreover, the body state of obese adolescents can affect their breathing, with such individuals likely to experience short and labored breathing. The difficulty of breathing relates to cardiovascular problems (Burniat, 2013).

A common reason associated with heart problems is mainly because the individuals who are obese tend to be inactive, thus do not provide themselves with an opportunity of strengthening their heart muscle. And as a result, it remains relatively weak, which leads to the need for it to pump harder in comparison to normal-sized individuals. Besides, with the need for the heart to pump more blood where the arteries are narrower for the obese individuals, it leads to the likelihood of the adolescents to experience blood pressure (Paxton, 2015). Additionally, since obese adolescents’ also have a greater body mass, they will need more blood to supply nutrients and oxygen to the body tissues. Therefore, with the increase in blood volume in circulation through the blood vessels, the artery walls is subjected to pressure. As a result, obese adolescents are likely to suffer from left ventricular hypertrophy, a condition that occurs due to the thickening of left ventricle walls (Thompson, 2016). This condition may eventually contribute to heart failure among the developing adolescents.

Furthermore, the study by Paxton (2015) on obesity effects on adolescent development is the aspect of weight problems among such children may likely induce premature puberty, especially among the females. It is commonly acknowledged that overweight children tend to develop faster in comparison to slim adolescents (Burniat, 2013). This is due to their body composition whereby, for the obese girl adolescents, their body is in a position of creating estrogen, which is mainly due to the increased fat. Also, their body often tends to retain more insulin, which plays a significant role in influencing the process of maturation.

On the other hand, obesity has an impact on mental and social development among the obese children. First, such children are often teased by their peers, which consequently places them at risk having low self-esteem. Besides, an overweight adolescent often exhibit anxiety issues, which leads to their poor social skills in comparison to the normal weight individuals (Thompson, 2016). The rapid body changes among the obese girls make it a challenge for them to relate to their peers since others will often likely to make cruel fun targeting them. This will often lead to such obese adolescent developing negative self-image which may lead to the development of trauma (Burniat, 2013). As a result, such issues may lead to social withdrawal among the obese adolescents, which will consequently make them suffer from stress. The stressful experiences will further make will interfere with the educational development of the obese children, which leads to a decline in their academic performance. Besides, the aspect of low self-esteem and social isolation results in the obese adolescents experiencing an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness (Paxton, 2015). This place such children at risk of developing depression since they lack any hope of improving their lives, and as a result lose interest in normal activities.


Obesity is identified as a case whereby an individual has excess amount body fat and can be established whether one is obese through the use of Body Mass Index. The adolescents are considered to be at risk of having obese if the BMI index ranges between 85th and 95th percentile (Dietz, 2012). I, therefore, find that obesity places adolescents at a health risk, with the biggest health issue that overweight children likely to experience is Type II diabetes. This health issue is recognized as a chronic condition which has an impact on the approach that body metabolizes sugar. Through the development of Type II diabetes, the adolescents become less resistant towards insulin effects, while their body is unable to produce enough to achieve a normal glucose level (Paxton, 2015). This provides an interesting perspective on the effect that obesity exhibit on the body of the affected individuals.

The learning on the topic of obesity provides a greater understanding of the notable issues that contribute to one being obese. These comprise of nutrition, genetics, physical activity, and social, economic status. First concerns the excessive consumption of foods which have a high-calorie level, and which have a large number of carbohydrates and sugar. The use of the type of food is particularly because of the shift of the use of healthy foods such as vegetable, fruits, and whole grains, with greater reliance being on processed snack foods, fast food, and the use of sugary drinks. Furthermore, the issue of lack of adequate exercise is recognized as a major issue that causes among the adolescents (Thompson, 2016). This is particularly because where there is less physical activity, it increases the likelihood of the adolescent gaining weight. Overweight adolescent contributes to their higher likelihood to suffer from Type II diabetes.

Moreover, through the focus on the topic, it provides me with an interesting understanding on the negative relationship socioeconomic status, which mainly concerns parental education, parental income, occupational status, and being obese among adolescent children (Paxton, 2015). I observe that particularly the parents of the adolescents have a significant role as being their children’s role model. This is especially with the need for them to emphasize on the need for their children to have an involvement in physical activities and healthy eating.

Additionally, it is notable that parents can contribute to the creation of a healthy environment for their adolescent children through their involvement in activities such as jogging, swimming, and biking. Besides, children should be encouraged to have an involvement in events such as sports, martial arts and dance as a means of allowing them to develop a positive appreciation towards physical activities and enjoyment of exercises (Dietz, 2012). On the other hand, concerning the choice of food, it is recommendable for the parents to focus on implementing which is rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. I, therefore, find that the topic is of great importance towards enabling me to promote a healthy lifestyle. Besides, I will be in a position to adopt behavior practices that will minimize chances of being obese.


It is a notable issue of concern that overweight individuals pose a global health crisis. As a result, many learning institutions are focusing on reversing the effects attributed to a poor lifestyle which have a great influence on children suffering from obesity. Besides, the healthy state of the future generation is depended with having an understanding of the rising problems of obesity. Therefore, with the knowledge on the physical, psychological, and emotional development effect that obesity impacts on the normal development of children, measures must be adopted in order to promote a healthy lifestyle among the children. This is so as to improve their state by enhancing their success in terms of emotional well-being and physical capability (Dietz, 2012). The general society should thus be enlightened on the negative effect that obesity can exhibit both to the adolescents and the adults.

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  1. Burniat, W. (2013). Child and adolescent obesity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  2. Clinton, J. (2015). Understanding Childhood Obesity. New University of Mississippi Press.
  3. Dietz, W. H. (2012). Health consequences of obesity in youth: childhood predictors of adult disease. Pediatrics, 101, 3, 518-25.
  4. Paxton, H. L. (2015). The effects of childhood obesity on self-esteem. Huntington, WV: Marshall University Libraries.
  5. Thompson, T. (2016). Childhood obesity. New York: Greenhaven Press
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