Obesity: Teen Health Crisis or Healthy at Any Weight?

Topics: Obesity, Nutrition, International Size Acceptance Association Pages: 9 (2792 words) Published: June 18, 2013
People throw around the term "obesity" pretty easily these days. In a world so often focused on losing weight and being thin, anyone with a few extra pounds on them may end up being called "obese." Yet, if a doctor's tests determine that you are obese, you need to be aware of the health risks that obesity can produce.

But there are more factors besides weight that determine your health. People can be different shapes, sizes, and weights due to culture, genetics, or preference. Obviously not everyone is thin, not everyone can be, and not everyone wants to be! Some say you can be healthy at any weight "“ what do you think?

What Is Obesity?
The most common method used to determine obesity is weighing oneself on a scale. But this isn't very accurate. A more useful way to determine obesity is the body mass index or the BMI. Obesity is defined as having a BMI ≥ 30. The formula for finding your BMI is to divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. Now, Americans don't usually use the metric system, so the translation is to multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide the result by your height in inches, and divide that result by your height in inches again. Got it?

For example, Jatara weights 135 pounds and is 5 foot 2 inches tall, so her BMI would be:

135 pounds x 703 = 94905 ÷ 62 inches = 1530.73 ÷ 62 inches = 24.7

Jatara is not obese.

How Does Obesity Develop?

There are ways to curb this health problem, and it all starts with knowing the facts.

What's the difference between being "obese" or just being "overweight"?

The important thing to remember is that obesity is more severe than being overweight. People who are obese are 20 percent or more above their ideal body weight. Being overweight applies to people who are above their ideal body weight.

What leads to obesity?
There are many factors that contribute to obesity, and most people who suffer from obesity are influenced by more than one factor:

First and foremost is excessive food. Of course, everyone needs food, and it should be something that we all enjoy, but like all things, food needs to be consumed in moderation—meaning that it's important to eat well-balanced meals. Don't deprive yourself, but don't overindulge, either. Not exercising is another big factor. Even if you don't consider yourself an athlete, it's important to be active and not spend a lot of time sitting around. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, is one of the most effective ways to fight obesity. Even things as simple as walking instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can have a positive impact on your overall health. Genetics is another key player. Just like green eyes or brown hair, certain things can be passed down from parent to child. But just because someone in your family is overweight doesn't mean that you will be too. Recent studies show that not getting enough sleep can add to your possibility of becoming obese. If your body does not have enough rest, it does not produce enough leptin*, which may make you feel hungrier. You may develop cravings, especially for fatty foods and sweets.

But obesity often goes deeper than just too much food and not enough exercise. Often, people who are obese don't simply eat unhealthy foods, they have unhealthy relationships with food. Sometimes eating a lot seems like the easiest way to deal with stress or negative emotions. People often use food as a comfort in their lives.

*Leptin: a hormone that controls your hunger.

Be Proud, Be Beautiful
Shelby Garzes


Are you a teen who is overweight or obese? Do you get teased about it? Well, I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. I'm a teen much like the rest of you. I have two eyes, a nose, lips, two ears, all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, but the only thing that makes me different from some kids is my weight. My weight is too high.

Now, I'm not obese, but I am overweight. I may not look it that much...
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