What is teen obesity?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Teens aren't excluded from the growing trend of obesity in the United States. Obesity is technically different from being merely overweight; it's a matter of degree. If a teen is overweight, he/she simply weights more than he/she should. However, you can classify a teen as obese when that the teen is at least 20 percent heavier than his/her ideal body weight (according to the Body Mass Index - BMI).

Teen obesity is a particularly difficult condition because it not only brings with it immediate physical and mental health concerns, but because obese teens are likely to become obese adults, which shortens his/her overall life expectancy. Some of the common medical risks to an obese teen are hypertension, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and sleep apnea. Obese teens have also been found to have fewer friends, they are more likely to be involved in bullying (as both the bully and the bullied), and to suffer from depression.

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