Understanding the Risk of Obesity Among Young Adults
Tue, April 20, 2021

Understanding the Risk of Obesity Among Young Adults

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published a report titled “Health at a Glance 2019” to implement a suite of regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives to help in curbing the rise of overweight population rates / Photo by: Kurhan via 123RF

 

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published a report titled “Health at a Glance 2019” to implement a suite of regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives to help in curbing the rise of overweight population rates. It also mentioned that the overweight and obese population is determined based on the body mass index (BMI), which is a single number that assesses a person’s weight in relation to their height.

Additionally, the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted the health risk of being obese and having type 2 diabetes. This report by the CDC is tied to other studies conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, which found that the rise in death from heart failure and the decrease in American life expectancy can also be attributed to obesity and other aggravating factors. 

According to the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), a monthly, peer-reviewed medical journal published by Managed Care & Healthcare Communications, a quarter of young adults under the age of 35 have developed prediabetes, which puts them at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. More alarmingly, the condition has been known to start at a much younger year, during adolescence as nearly one in five youths aged 12 to 18 has been diagnosed with prediabetes.

 

Obesity Problems in Young Adults

People believe that obesity and diabetes mostly happen to older adults, especially those who have a sedentary lifestyle. However, the AJMC mentioned on their website that when the researchers from the CDC analyzed results from the 2005-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they learned that the prevalence of prediabetes was also evident in young people. Their research involved a total of 5,786 individuals comprised of 2,606 adolescents and 3,180 young adults. 

The results of the study showed that 18% of the adolescents and 24% of the young adults already had prediabetes. The researchers looked at the measures of impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, and rising glycated hemoglobin to calculate for prediabetes in both adolescent and young adult groups. 

“The prevalence of prediabetes in adolescents and young adults reinforces the critical need for effective public health strategies that promote healthy eating habits, physical activity, and stress management,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., in an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He added that changes in one’s lifestyle and overall behavior can reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes even in those who have prediabetes.

Health Risks of Being Overweight

The findings also mentioned the troubling health risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It was revealed that the rising death from heart failure and the overall drop in US life expectancy had something to do with the long-term rise in obesity. 

This condition can have a harmful effect on the body in different ways, as it can affect a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Young adults might also develop breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea, as well as joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort. 

Obesity might be also related to other problems such as psychological and emotional issues. This condition can cause anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and lower self-reported quality of life. Also, it can make the person a target of bullying and suffer from the stigma that could isolate them from their peers and even family members.

People believe that obesity and diabetes mostly happen to older adults, especially those who have a sedentary lifestyle / Photo by: Konstantin Pelikh via 123RF

 

How to Prevent Obesity

Adults suffering from obesity can take part in structured, lifestyle-change programs that include weight management and exercise, according to the CDC. These activities can also cut their risks of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. There are also several organizations that help in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes in those people who are at high risk. 

The CDC also has a program that helps those aged 18 and older to achieve an active lifestyle with the assistance of trained lifestyle coaches. They encourage people who are under this program to have a change in lifestyle that will address barriers as they improve their nutrition and physical activity and attain coping mechanisms for stress reduction. 

Parents can also help their children combat the risks of obesity by encouraging them to have healthier eating habits and increased physical activities. They can aim for their children to have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, encouraging them to play or be active outside their house and away from their electronic gadgets.

Obesity is also a community problem, which is why access to healthier and affordable foods can make it easier for families to avoid having the condition. Children who don't have access to affordable and healthier foods can become obese and suffer from health issues. This is why everyone should be concerned about the rising number of young people diagnosed with this condition before it is too late.