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Teen Obesity and Is it Aging Our Youth?

Teen Obesity and Is it Aging Our Youth?

Teen Obesity and Is it Aging Our Youth?

Overweight and obese teenagers are at risk for a variety of medical problems. Many include high blood pressure and diabetes. This follows them into adulthood. Because of their excess weight and the strain it puts on their muscles and bones, they’re also at higher risk of orthopedic problems. We are not talking about your garden variety back strain either. According to new information, teenagers with obesity have an increased risk of diseases of the spine. These are not usually seen in such a young age group.

The Problems of Obese Teenagers: Bad Spines?

When researchers looked at 188 teens and adolescents who were experiencing back pain, they found that over half of them had MRI abnormalities with most showing disc disease. Many involved more than one level of the spinal cord. This is disturbing news. Disc disease can cause long term problems for teenagers with obesity. It follows them into adulthood.

Teen Obesity

What Problems Can Teenage Spinal Disease Cause?

Teen obesity and disc disease can lead to significant pain, weakness, and sensory changes involving the arms or legs – depending upon which discs are affected. While many cases of disc herniation can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and bed rest, surgery may be needed in cases that don’t respond to rest, medications, and physical therapy.

Teen Obesity: Other Problems

Why is this finding so disturbing? It shows that teenagers with obesity are increasingly developing diseases that were once seen only in people middle-aged or older. Not only is disc disease a problem, more adolescents and teenagers are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – a disease once uncommon in this age group.

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What Problems Can Teenage Spinal Disease Cause?

Teen obesity and disc disease can lead to significant pain, weakness, and sensory changes involving the arms or legs – depending upon which discs are affected. While many cases of disc herniation can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and bed rest, surgery may be needed in cases that don’t respond to rest, medications, and physical therapy.

Teen Obesity: Other Problems

Why is this finding so disturbing? It shows that teenagers with obesity are increasingly developing diseases that were once seen only in people middle-aged or older. Not only is disc disease a problem, more adolescents and teenagers are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – a disease once uncommon in this age group.

Teen Obesity

What’s Causing the Problem of Obese Teenagers?

Many experts are blaming this growing diabetes epidemic among teens to the growth of fast food restaurants and teen’s easy access to them. Many busy families don’t have time to prepare a healthy, well-balanced meal and instead opt for super-sized fast food instead. This isn’t the only problem that obese teenagers face. Up to one-third of teens have elevated cholesterol levels that put them at high risk for heart disease as they enter into adulthood.

Teen Obesity: The Bottom Line?

Teenagers with obesity are increasingly developing medical problems that were once related to those twice their age. Not only are they being burdened with bad backs and spines, but also problems such as heart disease and diabetes that could kill them prematurely. It’s important to treat the problem of teen obesity as early as possible to reduce.

Seeking therapy and working with a dietician that is trained to work specifically with teens is vital. Let’s give our teens the best chance we can to have all of the advantages they deserve.