Health and weight (young people)
Young People, Health and Weight Introduction by Dr Russell Viner
Children and teenagers’ weight is a popular topic in the news and among doctors in this country. In 2015/16 school year over a fifth of reception children were overweight or obese. In year 6 (10-11) it was over a third (National Child Measurement Programme: England, 2015/16 school year). Doctors are worried about this because people who have weight problems when they are young may grow up to have health problems when they are adults (BMA).
Dr Russell Viner is from the Institute for Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children’s hospital in London. Here, Dr. Viner explains why being overweight or obese is a problem and how young people can make sure they keep a healthy weight.
Why are so many young people in the UK overweight or obese?
Does obesity run in families?
People often wonder about genes, about the genetics of obesity and whether obesity really runs in families. The first thing we know is that being overweight runs very strongly in families. And that part of that is probably due to do with our genetic makeup, the genes we have in our system that help determine our hair colour, our height, and also our tendency to put on weight or not.
What health problems might cause obesity?
What is 'Body Mass Index' or 'BMI'? Is BMI the best measurement of weight for children and young people?
There are problems with the body mass index or BMI in children and young people, really muscley young people, people who play rugby, or play a lot of sports, can have a high BMI, but actually have low fat levels, and they’re not at all obese, even though their BMI is high, but in general BMI is the best measure of being overweight or obese in young people.
What is 'morbid obesity'? Can the term be used when talking about children and teenagers?
Does dieting work? What treatments are available for young people who are overweight or obese?
What is the best way to lose weight?
What is the best way to measure my weight? How often should I weigh myself?
Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated July 2017.