10-Country Survey Reveals Nearly One in Four Adolescents Living with Obesity Do Not Know They Have Obesity

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.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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