This report has been written to analyze adolescents’ health issues in Australia. It analyses the contributing factors to adolescents’ obesity issue and its impact on the family and recommendations for the nursing practice. This report targets the parents of these adolescents and the entire families to help them in dealing with such occurrences and avoiding them. It also aims at giving additional information to the nursing fraternity so that they are ready to deal with such cases and be able to provide the best health care and advice to those affected. Obesity however, not directly being a threat to life it causes many disorders that in turn put the adolescents’ life in danger either as an adolescent or when he or she is already an adolescent.
In Australia, there is an approximate of 50% of the men who are obese and 33% women being obese. Over 20% of adolescents are obese, and 80% of these obese adolescents grow to obese adults. Obesity is excessive increase in body size as a result of increased body fat. There are many known cause of obesity in adolescents. They include genetics, environment, eating, and activity. Obesity in turn, causes many life-risking diseases thus a major threat to life. Adolescents who are brought up in wealthy families are reported to have high percentages of being obese than those in poor households. Obesity has negative effects to the individual who is affected as well as the extended family members. This because when the obese adolescent is faced with resulting diseases such as heart diseases the families end up using a lot of money for their medical upkeep. The nursing practice should aim at advising parents who have genetic history on obesity on how to feed their children as they grow and the necessary measures they should take. This will reduce the cases of adolescents who are obese due to their eating ways. Australian national children’s nutrition and physical survey should also regularly carry out research on the percentages of adolescents who are obese instead of ignoring them and focusing on the adults only.
Definition of terms
Obesity is the condition of an individual having unhealthy weight resulting from the body storing too much fat.
Adolescents are children between the ages of 12-18.
Obese adolescents therefore, are children between the ages of 12 -18 who have unhealthy weights due to excess storage of fat in the body.
BMI is the body mass index. On height and weight.
Genetic indicates a complication, which is related to heredity factors of an individual or associated with genes (Hoy, 2000).
Genes refer to a heredity unit, which is normally transferred from a parent to a child or one generation to another (Hoy, 2000).
Environment illustrate the basic surroundings of an individual, which have an impact in influencing the well-being of a person.
According to Centre for disease control obesity in adolescents is BMI greater than 30. The rates of obesity are increasing not only in Australia but also worldwide. The world Health Organization stated in its report obesity is on a rise. It came up with the fact that obesity causes public health concern. Obesity has been known to relate cancers of the breast, ovarian, prostate and colon. Obesity in industrialized populations has no practical advantage and has adverse effects on health. The significance of obesity in the populations is more controversial. Obesity is less common in the developing countries. All the available published materials focus on obesity as a health and social problem.
In 2009, about 16% of adolescents in Australia were obese while in 2010, the percentage increased to 20%. In 2011, the percentage increased to 25%. This statistics show that there is an increase in the number of adolescents who are obese. It is expected that no action taken to reduce this increasing percentage of obese adolescents the number will continue rising every year.
Obesity occurs if the body store too much fat. This is what leads to unhealthy weight gain. It is different from being overweight. Obesity is measured by body mass index, which a formula is determining the percentage of an individual’s weight caused by fat in opposition to body mass as a muscle. The number of adolescents who are obese in Australia is on an increase thus it is becoming a medical crisis. Adolescence is a critical period for development of obesity or even any behavior that predispose to obesity. This is because of the major psychosocial and behavioral changes that take place at this time.
Adolescent’s obesity is typically defined in terms of relative weight for height and age. Cut of points for overweight are usually defined as the set percentage above the standard weight for the given height and age. The standard weight is determined as the mean from a reference distribution for the population.
Over the course, of several years obesity in adolescents has been in discussion by a majority of the Australians population. In most of the conversations and research carried out highly center on what really causes obesity. Obesity generates tremendous interest to the affected and those who are not affected as well. Different people have different opinions on its causes ranging from those affected and those not affected.
One of the major causes of obesity in adolescents is genetic. As soon as the sperm fertilizes the egg, the fetus is fated to a certain body weight by virtue of DNA. This has highly contributed to recklessness of people. They do not watch their diet since they believe that their genes command their bodies to maintain a certain weight. This believe is further supported by the fact that other things such as the hair color, eye color, and height are determined by DNA then the weight is also determined by DNA. However, some studies have shown that 25-40% etiology of obesity is caused by genetics. Families with low RMR are likely to have individuals with obesity. There are certain genes that are linked to obesity though the action each gene takes is not yet known. These genes cause abnormal putting on fat. Medically this is not the common cause of obesity in adolescents as people tend to believe.
The environment in which the adolescent has grown in also is known to be one of the major causes of obesity. The adolescents become obese as a consequence of their surroundings and how they were raised. This means that how the parents of the adolescents fed them since they were young determines if they grow to be obese or not. How parents teach their children to eat, how much they encouraged exercise in their children, and where the adolescents lived also contributes to obesity. For example if a parent let her child have a lot junk when young they grow to love that type of food and by the time they are adolescents they only know how to feed on such foods. This type of foods is known to accelerate the problem of obesity. In addition, if when one was a child they never were encouraged to play and exercise they grow to obese adolescents. The consumption mannerism of adolescents highly contributes to obesity.
Consuming the right quantity and quality is a great way of avoiding obesity but most adolescents do not mind what they eat. Most obese adolescents eat excess food that has high levels of fat. The obese individuals have habits of overeating all the time especially when they are stressed emotionally. In addition, consuming food with high levels of calories increases risks of obesity.
Obesity in adolescents leads to a number of health problems. They include high blood pressure and diabetes. These diseases are mostly seen to affect old people, but the adolescents who are obese also get affected. Obesity also lowers the overall life expectancy of the adolescents; they end up dying younger than their fellow peers who live longer. Obesity in adolescents does not just affect the body the affected become subject of teasing and harassment in social situations and by their age mates. This makes them to be withdrawn emotionally.
Obesity has effects to the family members of the affected adolescent. An adolescent who is obese will require regular feeding as he is already used to the habit and therefore, the family has to go an extra expense to feed them. When the individual gets sick resulting from the related sicknesses to obesity the family has to use a lot funds in most cases to see that they get well. This is because most of the diseases that result from obesity are fatal and expensive to treat. For example, high blood pressure will always affect the adolescent constantly. To some extent if the adolescent goes through emotional torture from his or her fellow peers the family has to get involved in cancelling them or taking them to see a guidance and cancelling professional.
Obesity is strongly associated with parental neglect more than adolescent carelessness. Therefore, the nursing practitioners should advise the parents on how to prevent obesity in their children as they grow. Relevant teaching should be offered to parents from when the children are born to avoid adolescent’s obesity complications. There should be preventive programs directed towards children to prevent future obesity in adolescents. The medics need to do further studies in order to determine the role of psychosocial risk factors in development of obesity in the life of an adolescent. Nursing practitioners also need to ensure adolescents are taught on proper diet to prevent obesity in time. In schools, the teachers need to work with the nursing practitioners to encourage the adolescents who attend school to do regular exercise rather than just watching TV as most do.
The main problem in adolescent obesity is psychological distress. It can result from exclusion of the obese adolescents from group activities. So far, there have been many concerns about adolescent obesity in Australia. This is because of the high increase of obesity in adolescents. There is always the risk of obesity persisting to adult life from adolescent life. Obesity in adolescents has a lot of negative effects on the victim and the family. It is evident that family history of obesity probably leads to obesity too. Prevalence of obesity varies with age, sex and socio economic activities.
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