Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Young Adult Obesity Is Worth Addressing

Today, childhood obesity gets a lot of attention in the press, and a lot of research is devoted to the condition. Childhood obesity gets a lot of research and attention because the disease leads to an array of diseases in childhood and in adulthood. So childhood obesity deserves the attention and research it is getting. However, there is another group deserving of attention and research. The group is the young adults who are obese.

It is pretty much agreed that people who are obese during childhood are likely to be obese during adulthood. Further, there is large agreement that children who are obese may suffer from some of the same ailments as adults, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Because of the negative effects of obesity during childhood and later in life, reducing childhood obesity deserves a lot of research.  But in many ways, the effects of obesity on young adults are similar to the effects of obesity on children and adolescents. Young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 are confronted with the same obesity issues as obese children and obese adolescents.

According to a study done at George Washington University, “the prevalence of obesity roughly doubles between pre-adolescents (17% among 6 to 11 year old children) and young adulthood (34% among 20 to 39-year-old adults).” Therefore, there is a very high obesity rate among this young adult age group. And that is important because many life events occur during this period including marriage, first-time job, starting a family and divorce. And obesity impacts all of these events.

And just as in the case of childhood obesity, many comorbidities are associated with the obesity experienced by a large percentage of young adults. So addressing obesity in young adults could lower healthcare costs. And again, as with childhood obesity, adult obesity increases the risk of obesity later in life. So young adulthood obesity is worthy of attention.

Healthcare providers should address overweight and obesity when it occurs in their young adult patients. This can make the young adults healthier while they’re still young, and lower the risk of poor health in the later years.

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