Many Overweight or Obese Teens Don't See the Problem

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, July 13, 2015

Many Overweight or Obese Teens Don't See the Problem

*The following is excerpted from an online article from HealthDay.

Many overweight and obese teens don't believe they have a weight problem, a new study finds.

Researchers reviewed data on about 5,000 teens. They were between 13 and 15 years of age, and they all lived in the United Kingdom. The teens had been asked about their weight and if they thought they were too heavy, too light or about right.

Seventy-three percent of the teens had a weight within the normal range, 20 percent were overweight and 7 percent were obese. However, about 40 percent of those who were overweight or obese said they were about the right weight, and 0.4 percent even said they were too light, the findings showed.

More than 80 percent of the normal-weight teens correctly identified themselves as being the right weight, the study found. But, 7 percent felt they were too heavy, and 10 percent believed they were too light. Girls were more likely than boys to think they were too heavy, the research revealed.

The Cancer Research UK study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of 10 types of cancer, including those of breast and colon cancers, the researchers said in a Cancer Research UK news release.

"This study was a cause for celebration and concern. Young people who think they're overweight when they're not can sometimes develop devastating eating disorders, so we're delighted that most of the normal-weight teenagers had a realistic view of their body size," said Jane Wardle, a professor at Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Research Center at University College London.

"But we need to find effective ways of helping too-heavy teenagers slim down and maintain a healthier weight, and it's vitally important that we find out whether it helps if they are more aware of their weight status. There are no easy answers," she added.

Source: HealthDay