Obesity is one of the major health problems occurring in people and is not only caused by genetic factors but also due to environmental causes and children of obese parents are more likely to be obese, stressing the importance of inheritance on obesity (Leibel, Behary & Friedman, 1993). Studies indicate that children who are overweight in the earlier ages of their lives are more likely to be overweight youth and adults (Serdula et al, 1993). Obesity has a vital impact not only on the affected individual but also the family of the person who is obese. Obesity is a severe problem which causes several difficulties, physical and psychological to the affected individual. Some of the most common health problems associated with obesity includes hypertension (blood pressure), diabetes and coronary artery disease.
Apart from physical and medical problems, obesity could also result in psychosocial and psychological distress among the affected individuals and their families. Studies which indicate that obesity is actively associated with psychological issues like depression and suicidal tendencies among youth and adolescents (Zametkin et al, 2004). If children and adults illustrate these mental problems, the families of obese individuals would also be impacted greatly. Young adults could face societal rejection in the form of stigmatization and differential behaviors at the education setting or even the workplace and this could be a cause for serious cause to the family members of the obese youth. Additionally, high poverty rates and low marriage rates are often associated with adults who are obese (Zametkin et al, 2004).
Adolescence and young adulthood is a difficult period in life which requires the support of peers and social system for the complete and positive development of identity and self esteem. When individuals are obese, especially young adults and adolescents, they are likely to face bullying, teasing and marginalization from friends and peers. This behavior from society could negatively impact their psychological growth and well being. This paper aims to discuss the likely effects, physical and psychological on the health and well being of adolescent adults and their families.
For instance, if I were an obese person, the greatest concern to me and my family would be my physical appearance. An obese person would become a target of embarrassment to the family members. Researchers have studied that obese youth are very often a target of bullying activities in their schools and colleges and could face peer aggression (Janssen et al, 2004). This could cause severe mood swings and disorders among the youth who would not be able to concentrate on the important educational tasks. Further, teasing due to fatness or heavyweight by the peers could also result in psychological and developmental problems among youth such as low self esteem. This can manifest itself in present and future life in the form of reduced body satisfaction and could ultimately cause severe symptoms of depression among the affected obese individuals (Eisenberg et al, 2003).
Several studies have indicated that adolescent children could be target of victimization of they are obese. The victimization could be in the form of physical oppression in the case of boys or unfriendly attitudes from their peers in case of girls (Pearce et al, 2002). Physical attractiveness is something which most youth and adolescents desire. Fatness and obesity cause the person to look unattractive and makes them less desirable to their peers and friends. These unwanted attitudes and feelings towards obese youth could cause psychological distress among youth and have a negative effect on their relationships with their peers and teachers and more importantly, parents and families.
Mood problems and the lack of desire to socialize could result in further restraints in socializing. Families and parents would be disheartened to see the negative development of their children and could also face severe psychological problems. Parents may force their children to do things which they do not like, for instance, socializing with friends, and this may result in aggressive behaviors in their adolescent children. The psychological distress caused in schools, colleges and the social networks of their children could result in terrible consequences. The emotional distress experienced by young adults could result in poor self images and aggressive behaviors among the youth (Mellin et al, 2002). These behaviors could give rise to problems such as suicidal tendencies among them (Mellin et al, 2002) and all this could have terrible consequences for the atmosphere at home, since parents would continually worry for their children’s well being.
Other problems include addiction to drugs, alcohol and substance abuse, all of which are likely to cause serious concerns among parents and family members. Obese individuals could be associated with several other disorders such as binge eating, extreme dieting and prolonged watching of television due to the attitudes of society and peers, which results in psychological disturbances. These problems could further aggravate and cause reduced performances in schools and educational institutes. This could severely impact their career and professional plans and could reduce their chances of success in society.
Adolescent gets involved in abnormal or problematic behaviors, due to emotional problems making it very likely for these young adults to drop out of schools and colleges. This has a more serious and long lasting effect since lack of substantial education could increase the chances of unemployment and resultant poverty (Mellin et al, 2002). Due to lower levels of education accomplishment, obese youth could be treated differently at the workplace and this could give rise to further problems at the family level, affecting their present and future marital relationships.
Thus, it is apparent that obesity is a severe disease which causes not only physical and medical problems but also has a negative effect on the psychological and social development of youth. The youth suffer due to lack of self esteem and other disturbances and this becomes a cause for serious concern to the parents and family of the affected individual. The familial and societal implications of obesity are lasting and efforts must be taken to avert the onset of obesity and the resultant problems associated with it.
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