The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
New research from 10 countries presented at this year’s European Congress of Obesity (ECO) shows that nearly one-quarter of adolescents living with obesity (ALwO) (24%) do not know they have obesity. However, most surveyed (85%) are worried about the impact of their weight on their future health. Many struggle to talk to even those closest to them about their weight status and two-thirds feel it is their sole responsibility to deal with their excess weight.
A total of 5,275 ALwO (aged 12-<18 years), 5,389 caregivers (CGs), and 2,323 healthcare professionals (HCPs) were surveyed via an online panel, telephone calls, and in-person meetings on a wide range of topics, including attitudes towards obesity and its impact, the number of weight loss attempts and motivations/barriers to weight loss. HCPs were most likely (89%) and CGs least likely (67%), to indicate obesity has a strong impact on a person’s overall health and well-being, with ALwO in between at 72%. Most participants thought obesity was at least as, or more, impactful than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, among other conditions.
While more than half (58%) of ALwO had tried to lose weight in the past year, three-quarters 75% of ALwO were somewhat/very likely to attempt to lose weight in the next 6 months. Fewer CGs reported that their ‘linked’ ALwO attempted weight loss (WL) over the past year (41%) and that their ALwO was somewhat/very likely to attempt to lose weight in the next 6 months (63%). HCPs indicated that 38% of their ALwO patients had made a serious WL attempt in the past year.
Regarding motivation for ALwO to lose weight, the most commonly reported motivators for ALwO were wanting to be more fit/in better shape (40%), not being happy with their weight (37%) and wanting to feel more confident (35%).
The top three barriers to losing weight reported by ALwO were not being able to control hunger (38%), lack of motivation (34%), and enjoying eating unhealthy food (32%).
The study also highlights the feelings of isolation felt by ALwO. One in three felt they could not talk to either parent about their weight; around one in three could talk to their doctor, and a quarter felt they could talk to their boyfriend or girlfriend with a similar proportion (22%) feeling able to discuss the subject with a sibling. Worryingly, one in 10 ALwO surveyed felt they could talk to no one at all about their weight.