Obesity in Adolescents

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An estimated 1.2 billion adolescents - one in every five people – are living in the world today. In the other words, about 20% of the total population of the world are made up by adolescents (WHO, 2005). They are tomorrow’s adult and their health is a fundamental issue for a healthy society in future. However, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased dramatically among young people since 1980s worldwide (Haug, Samdal, Morgan, Ravens-Sieberer, & Currie, 2006). Over the last 20 years, the prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased at an alarming rate not only in developed countries, but around the world (Worobey, 2006, chap.15). The increase in obesity prevalence has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recently refer to a ‘global epidemic’ to describe the obesity issue (Tremblay & Doucet, 2000). I explained the prevalence of obesity in two levels: worldwide and Iran. 1.1.1.1 Worldwide According to a fact sheet published by WHO (2006) and the latest estimates from the International Obesity Taskforce (Taskforce, 2010) approximately 155 million school-aged children are currently overweight or obese worldwide. Countries in all over the world have experienced a considerable increase in the prevalence of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the past three decades (Bundred, Kitchiner, & Buchan, 2001; Ramachandran, et al., 2002; Baratta, Degano, Leonardi, Vigneri, & Frittitta, 2006; WHO, 2003). Statistics obtained from various studies in European region (WHO, 2005) estimated that 10–30% of European school children aged 7–11 years and 8–25% of adolescents (14–17 years) are faced with excess body fat. The evidence from the United States and some European countries suggests that this upward ... ... middle of paper ... ...l., 2008). A review conducted to compare the problem of children obesity among Middle-East countries has revealed that different age groups showed a stable increase in prevalence of overweight/obesity with raising age, being male, and higher socioeconomic status (Mirmiran, Sherafat-Kazemzadeh, Jalali-Farahani, & Azizi, 2010). In Iran, as a country located in the Middle-East, a rapid increased prevalence of overweight and obesity has been accompanied by accelerated epidemiology and nutrition transition (Maddah, 2007; Malekzadeh, Mohamadnejad, Merat, Pourshams, & Etemadi, 2005). Although the prevalence of obesity among Iranian adolescents is less than developed countries like the USA but, studies showed relatively high prevalence of obesity in Iranian youth in recent years as obesity has been the number- one ntritional problem in Iran (Malekzadeh et al. 2005).

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