Overweight / Obesity

The prevalence of overweight (OW) /obesity (OB) in children and adolescents has increased dramatically worldwide and in some countries, such as Greece, it has resulted to a major public health concern. According to a previous study, the prevalence of OW including OB in a representative sample of adolescents, aged 13-19 years (14 456 adolescents) throughout the whole of Greece, was very high (30%). It is now known that obesity is related to a number of co morbidities that will have profound public health consequences, as overweight children become overweight adults. Certain co morbidities, such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, steatohepatitis, that used to be considered "adult diseases", are now seen in obese children and adolescents. In a recent study, A.H.U assessed the cardio metabolic risk factors among 185 overweight and obese children and adolescents aged 8 to 19 years. Insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and systolic hypertension were found in 54%, 10% and 17% of adolescents respectively. Moreover, obesity during adolescence increases the risk οf premature death during adulthood. Therefore, preventive strategies in order to weight control should be targeted at childhood and early adolescence.