The impact of lifestyle changes in adolescence
It’s been proved that obesity increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes type 2, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, degenerative arthritis, sleep apnea, liver disease, infertility and different types of cancer (eg, breast and intestine).
Moreover, obesity in fertile women before and during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease in descendants. Unfortunately, most children with obesity will become obese adults. In this context, diet changes and increased physical activity are essential. Several studies have shown short-term success after such interventions. Thus, a minimum reduction of 0.25 of body mass index (BMI) reduces adiposity and strengthens metabolic health in children. However, until recently, there has been no information regarding a long-term effect of BMI reduction in obese children.
For this, a study has been made, to investigate metabolic outcomes in youth that were obese in adolescence, and then changed their lifestyle. The results suggested that at least one in four obese adolescents can benefit in the long run from lifestyle changes. Although the BMIs of all subjects in this study have remained in the range of obesity at revaluation, those who obtained and maintained the weight loss benefited from improved metabolic results three to four years later. This should be a motivating factor for those who suffer from obesity and who will never realistically reach an ideal BMI.
In conclusion, a simple intervention in lifestyle, through a slight BMI reduction, improves long-term metabolic health for at least 25% of obese adolescents.