You are currently viewing LET’S TALK NUTRITION: Preventing Overweight & Obesity in Adolescents

LET’S TALK NUTRITION: Preventing Overweight & Obesity in Adolescents


This edition of my blogpost is on Obesity. Am sure you might be wondering why obesity? Well, it’s because obesity, a form of malnutrition is gradually becoming a public concern globally and Nigeria is not exempted.

Let’s not forget that malnutrition occurs when a person does not have the amount of nutrients that he or she needs in their body. Malnutrition can be undernutrition which is when one’s body doesn’t get enough nutrients, or over-nutrition which is when there are more nutrients than what the body needs. The latter is where obesity comes in. Some people interchange Obesity and Overweight and assume both to mean the same thing. Others do not quite know the difference. Being overweight or obese are both terms for having more body fat than what is considered healthy. Both are used to identify people who are at risk for health problems from having too much body fat. However, the term “obese” generally means a much higher amount of body fat than “overweight”.

The number of overweight children and adolescents is on the increase in many countries around the world, including developing countries. In 2010, The World Health Organization estimated that 81% of the 43 million children that were obese globally at that time reside in developing countries.

Some of the causes of obesity in adolescents include increased consumption of food high in fats, added sugars and calories, little or no exercise, socioeconomic factors, and many more. Overweight youths are at risk of being obese during adulthood and are likely to experience obesity-related chronic illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, and joint problems, etc. It is important to note that obesity has, not just physical and health effects but also psychological effects on adolescents. These includes the risk of low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and discrimination, distorted body image, poor peer relations among others. Some health effects of obesity as mentioned earlier include; heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, and joint problems.

At this point I want to emphasize that, some young people have the tendency of becoming affected by the aforementioned health issues, particularly through genetic factors. It is already a medically established fact (I know some of us think that diabetes and high blood pressure are “old” people’s sickness 😏)

Obesity can be prevented by:

  • Regular exercise: You only need to get about 5 hours of exercise a week to prevent yourself from being obese.
  • A healthy eating plan: You need to follow a healthy-eating plan and ensure to eat food that will provide you with the adequate nutrients that your body requires.
  • Avoiding food traps: You need to avoid food traps and situations that cause overfeeding
  • Monitor your weight regularly: You need to do that so you notice when you are moving a bit off track weight-wise and reconsider your choice of meals- more of adequate diet.
  • Parents also need to be role models because if they eat healthy and exercise regularly, their children are more likely to do same.

That’s it on this topic!

I hope you understand more about obesity now. 🙂