With respect to both physical activity and nutrition, lifestyles of most young Americans have changed dramatically over time. Decades ago, young people often walked miles to attend school, visit friends, or even see a doctor. There was television to watch for hours on end. Instead of spending time chatting to friends on the internet, one would often have to pay an actual visit. Rather than choosing from a current array of pre-packaged and highly processed foods, families tended to cook at home and spent time enjoying meals together. One of the unfortunate results in such lifestyle changes is a sharp rise in obesity, w being identified in a younger and younger population. The problem has reached epidemic proportions. With the increase in childhood and adolescent obesity comes a host of other illnesses and conditions, too: diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer, along with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Written for both youth and parents, this work covers the causes and effects of the rise in childhood obesity while presenting straightforward guidelines and recommendations for getting assessed and treated. Here, information is provided on healthy nutrition and physical activity for young people, tools for self-monitoring and medical conditions associated with weight gain. Numerous resources that can provide help are listed. Several interviews with teens who describe their struggles and successes are included, as well.
Tania Heller, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician and the medical director of the Washington Center for Eating Disorders and Adolescent Obesity in Bethesda, Maryland www.washingtoncenteronline.com. She is the author of four other books.