Εφηβική Ηλικία και Παχυσαρκία.
Adolescence and Obesity.
Thousands of years ago, people tended to pay particular attention to their appearance. A feature which special emphasis was put on, was their weight, considering the gain of weight and the storage of body fat for an advantage. Excessive weight was characterized by various names, such as eusarkia, while during the last centuries it is known as obesity. Today, in the 21st century, weight gain and obesity are an increasing threat, sounding a note of warning about health and life quality for overweight people, making them feel guilty and ashamed in the society. Although, on the one hand, the living conditions are constantly improving, on the other hand modern lifestyle adopts habits which are related to multiple factors that cause the disease. The etiological factors of obesity have a versatile and complicated form, which, despite the progress of science and the strategies that are used for prevention and treatment, tend to expand beyond limits, afflicting all age groups. The longer the period during which somebody suffers from obesity, the more serious its consequences and more difficult its treatment. Thus, it is only reasonable that obesity should be treated in its initial stage or through its prevention, so that the appearance of the disease could be warded off. In order to do this, we should interfere and protect as much as possible younger age groups. Special attention should be paid to adolescence, which seems to be the most critical and vulnerable period for the appearance of the disease, because of psychosomatic changes experienced by teenagers, during their transfer from childhood to adulthood. The causes that lead to juvenile obesity derive from a combination of factors, which affect the dietary behavior of adolescents, disrupting energy balance through the increase in food consumption for a significant period. These factors are divided in two categories. In the first one, obesity is due to external factors that have resulted in an excessive supply of calories, while in the second category obesity is caused by internal factors, which enhance the disposition of the organism to gain weight easily. Excess weight can cause adolescents psychosomatic disorders, pathological and sociopolitical problems. The effects of these disorders can be shown in the short run, i.e. during adolescence or in the long run after puberty. Interventions that aim at the prevention or treatment of obesity during adolescence should be planned carefully to avoid the risk of eating disorders or other problems associated with the physical and mental development of adolescents. For this reason, the cooperation of all concerned agents, which can contribute positively to the resolution of the problem, is required. Thus, environmental, educational, economical and legislative adjustments are required and should be combined with the health system for the immediate diagnosis and treatment of adolescent obesity. This thesis refers to what has been said about teenage obesity, aiming at a better overview of current data. In particular, reference is made to the specific characteristics of adolescence, the dietary habits and problems of adolescence related to nutrition. There is a reference to the adolescent obesity in Greece and the rest of the world, through epidemiological studies, and there is a presentation of the research conducted to test the existence or not of obesity in the sample selected. As far as the solution of the problem is concerned, there are references to the strategies which experts adopt, aiming at the approach, prevention and treatment of adolescent obesity.