Adolescence is a crucial period of a person’s life, as it shapes the key physical and mental characteristics. However, it is considered to be challenging as well because teenage years are associated with a variety of topical issues. Adolescent obesity poses serious concerns among public health specialists for several reasons. First, the problem has become widespread in the United States, as its incidence rates remain on the stable increase. At the same time, in addition to the immediate effects of adolescent obesity, this condition entails lasting repercussions, which may translate into serious problems in adulthood. Accordingly, this issue should be addressed by healthcare professionals. Its close examination will enable effective interventions corresponding to the requirements of the modern youth. The purpose of this paper is to review the issue of adolescent obesity in the contemporary environment and potential support options.
In the 21st century, the elements of the public health system continue to work on a range of pressing concerns. Teenage obesity ranks among the most serious threats to public health in the United States of America (Steinbeck et al., 2018). According to Sanyaolu et al. (2019), the discussed problem has attained epidemic levels. Statistics suggest that over 17% of Americans under the age of 18 are obese, and this situation demands the immediate attention of medical specialists (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). While, undoubtedly, some instances are caused by particular genetic components, most obesity cases emerge due to unhealthy eating habits. The availability and convenience of fast food and carbonated, high-sugar drinks contribute to the development of the issue among adolescents. Additionally, a lack of regular physical exercise aggravates the problem, being indirectly caused by the advancement of technology. Teenagers spend much time on social media or playing video games, and, as a result, the issue persists.
The public health system must provide the population with effective, evidence-based intervention options. However, for them to be accurate, specialists should correctly evaluate the factors behind the issue. While the presence of obesity is easy to detect, it is the context of the health condition that requires a thorough examination. The primary risks of obesity are associated with the complications it may entail (Steinbeck et al., 2018). Therefore, it is necessary to identify the potential areas in which the condition of the patient is affected. Nevertheless, it does not suffice to alleviate the symptoms and complications. The issue of teenage obesity diagnostics demands a multidimensional approach to assessment, which would examine the impediments preventing adolescents from improving their eating habits. These barriers may also lie in the area of psychology, which requires a delicate, patient-centered approach on behalf of clinical specialists. As the issue often stems from the rules and atmosphere within the household, trust must be established between clinicians and parents. Medical professionals should have a clear understanding of the parents’ position and establish transparent communication.
Many obese adolescents may refuse to seek professional help for particular reasons. The lack of support serves as an important barrier, which should be eliminated for the situation to change. Steinbeck et al. (2018) state that supports programs should aim at the long term and propose solutions on the systemic level through community outreach. Pharmacotherapies and surgeries are to be used only in the most severe cases. In most situations, it appears possible to improve the patient’s condition by sincere, open discussions highlighting the benefits of healthy eating and exercise.
Overall, adolescent obesity has become a pressing concern in the public health community. Its incidence rates remain on the increase, as nearly one-fifth of all underage Americans demonstrate some degree of obesity. As it entails severe complications, which may only reveal themselves in adulthood, immediate actions are necessary. Public health specialists can achieve significant improvements by focusing on radical solutions, which would redefine the patients’ eating patterns and promote a healthier lifestyle on the level of each household. The interventions should aim at a long-term effect, as temporary improvements will not be able to revert current trends completely.
Sanyaolu, A., Okorie, C., Qi, X., Locke, J., & Rehman, S. (2019). Childhood and adolescent obesity in the United States: A public health concern. Global Pediatric Health, 6. Web.
Steinbeck, K. S., Lister, N. B., Gow, M. L., & Baur, L. A. (2018). Treatment of adolescent obesity. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 14, 331-344. Web.