Three out of 10 teenagers with obesity in the world they do not perceive that they have this disease, according to the international study ACTION Teens, which analyzes young people from 10 countries, including Mexico, presented at the European Congress on Obesity.
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“The study helped us obtain information related to the perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and barriers faced by adolescents living with obesity and how is the perception of these conditions, both by the caregivers and the doctors who treat them,” endocrinologist Nayeli Garibay told Efe.
According to the study, 76% of those surveyed considered that their weight was above normal, 72% were concerned about their weight and 85% are aware that being overweight will affect their health in the future.
In addition, 67% believe that they could lose weight if they set their minds to it and 65% feel that weight loss is their sole responsibility as teenagers.
ACTION teens is a cross-sectional, international study promoted by the Novo Nordisk laboratory to identify perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and barriers to effective obesity care.
The consultation included more than 5,000 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who live with obesitymore than 5,000 parents or caregivers and more than 2,000 health professionals from 10 countries: Australia, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Garibay explained that the obesity It is a disease associated with the development of more than 60 potentially severe health conditions.
This, he said, fuels a rising tide of other chronic illnesses, including mental health problems, heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, as well as some cancers, and bone and joint problems.
In Mexico alone, 43.8% of children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 are overweight and obesity.
According to the study, despite the fact that adolescents are interested in losing weight, controlling it and improving their health conditions, only 40% of parents recognize this effort.
Likewise, it showed that one in three parents does not identify obesity in their child, and almost half believe that it will resolve spontaneously.
“It gives us the impression that caregivers seriously underestimate the impact that obesity has on adolescents as well as the desire they have for some care in this regard,” said the expert.
The research also showed that nearly two-thirds of teenagers they see weight loss as a responsibility that falls solely on them.
Meanwhile, one in three does not feel that it is an issue that they can discuss with their parents and many seek guidance on social networks.
The specialist pointed out that the situation is worrying, since they are not finding necessary strategies for the adoption of healthier lifestyles that allow reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight.
“It is very important that from all strata we begin to consider obesity as a disease, that a budget be given for care, for the training of doctors, to favor much healthier environments,” he said.
In this sense, the study also showed that medical professionals need more and better education, since up to 87% of doctors revealed that they had not received significant training in how to treat obesity after medical school.
“The medical part has limitations to establish a bond with patients and have a greater capacity to develop tools to understand what their needs are and definitely our treatment is poorly focused because we have erroneous perceptions,” he specified.
With information from EFE