Adolescent obesity: Making a difference to the epidemic

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 2007, 19 (3), pp. 235 - 243
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Adolescent obesity is a major public health problem in Australia, and in many other parts of the world. Recent data suggest that as many as one quarter of young people in Australia are either overweight or obese, and that the majority of obese young people have one or more risk factors for chronic disease. Efforts to reduce the health and economic burden of obesity must focus on both management of affected individuals and prevention of further cases. This paper reviews some of the research currently underway in Australia, and includes recent data on both the prevalence of obesity and the associated complications, from large surveys and smaller cohorts. State and Federal governments have developed policies aimed at obesity prevention, but these are yet to be fully evaluated. Two large-scale community-based interventions are underway, one of which has reported positive preliminary findings. A number of smaller research programs are examining macro and individual level causation of obesity and include unique research examining the way adolescents perceive their environment. Other research includes the development and evaluation of service delivery models specifically targeting adolescents. A greater emphasis on environmental determinants and management of adolescent obesity is needed in future programs. © Freund Publishing House Ltd.
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