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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2306-2329; doi:10.3390/ijerph120202306

Overweight and Obese Adolescent Girls: The Importance of Promoting Sensible Eating and Activity Behaviors from the Start of the Adolescent Period

1
Centre for Nutrition and Exercise, Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4101, Australia
2
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Mater Health Services, Brisbane 4101, Australia
3
School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4215, Australia
4
Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast 4226, Australia
5
Children's Health Queensland, Queensland Health, Brisbane 4000, Australia
6
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4067, Australia
7
Bond Institute of Health and Sport, Bond University, Gold Coast 4226, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 9 October 2014 / Revised: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1027 KB, uploaded 17 February 2015]   |  

Abstract

The adolescent period is associated with changes in eating and activity behaviors in girls. Less reliance on parental provision and choice of food, coupled with a decrease in participation in physical activity and sport, can create an energy imbalance, predisposing to weight gain. Physiological alterations to body composition, reduction in insulin sensitivity, and psychological adjustments may further amplify the risk of becoming overweight and maintaining an unhealthy level of body fat into childbearing years. During pregnancy excess body fat is a risk factor for poor pregnancy outcomes and may predispose an infant to a lifelong heightened risk of being overweight and developing chronic disease. Interventions aimed at preventing the accumulation of body fat in adolescent girls and young women may have far reaching impact and be critically important in reducing intergenerational weight gain. Lifestyle interventions in adolescence have the potential to modify adult obesity risk by switching at-risk individuals from a high to lower obesity risk trajectory. This paper discusses multiple approaches to assist at-risk individuals reduce obesity risk. A key focus is placed on engagement in food preparation and choice, and opportunities for physical activity and sport. Support, education, and opportunity at home and at school, are often associated with the success of lifestyle interventions, and may enable adolescents to make positive choices, and engage in health promoting behaviors during adolescence and childbearing years. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescence; girls; growth; nutrition; obesity; physical activity; pregnancy adolescence; girls; growth; nutrition; obesity; physical activity; pregnancy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Todd, A.S.; Street, S.J.; Ziviani, J.; Byrne, N.M.; Hills, A.P. Overweight and Obese Adolescent Girls: The Importance of Promoting Sensible Eating and Activity Behaviors from the Start of the Adolescent Period. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 2306-2329.

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