M. M. Sinton, D. E. Wilfley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The prevalence of pediatric overweight and obesity, which is increasing worldwide, has tripled in the United States in the last 30. years, with the percentage of obese youth doubling in the last 20. years. Adolescent obesity is associated with both immediate and long-term health problems (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes, asthma) and psychosocial problems (e.g., social isolation, depression, disordered eating behaviors) such that adolescent obesity has implications for current and future generations' health and longevity. Further, several comorbid symptoms, particularly binge eating and social problems, may exacerbate weight gain and fat mass over time and/or interfere with treatment and prevention outcomes. Individual, familial, peer, and neighborhood factors, in conjunction with the pervasive obesogenic environment, interact with one another to influence the emergence and maintenance of overweight. Prevention and treatment efforts that take a multilevel, socioecological approach to reducing overweight are clearly warranted to address such broad environmental risk factors. These programs require innovative approaches to teach adolescents the skills needed to overcome individual, interpersonal, and contextual risk factors and the skills to seek out positive sources of social support for healthy lifestyle behaviors in order to stem tracking of adolescent overweight, and related comorbid outcomes, into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Adolescence
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780123739513
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Binge eating
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Eating disorder
  • Family treatment
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Peers
  • Physical activity
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors
  • Sedentary activity
  • Socioecological

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    Sinton, M. M., & Wilfley, D. E. (2011). Overweight/Obesity. In Encyclopedia of Adolescence (Vol. 3, pp. 219-229). Elsevier Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-373951-3.00123-X