More Local Teens Becoming Obese, Diabetic

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Most American teenagers, including local teenagers, cannot pass a physical fitness test.

An estimated 70% of teenagers cannot pass that test.  Even more are now flooding local doctors offices with a range of dangerous diseases.

Diabetes is no longer just a disease affecting adults.  Local teenagers are developing it as well.

Dr. Robert Kauffman works in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at TTUHSC.  He says, "we're seeing more and more teens fall into the diabetes category. That's shocking. That's something that 20 to 30 years ago we saw quite infrequently. And this is the adult onset diabetes, not the typical juvenile diabetes."

Dr. Kauffman often sees side effects you may not normally think of, like "we're seeing more teenagers with menstrual problems - acne, excessive hair growth, which are associated with being obese."

Micah Wing's office is where doctors send obese teenage patients before their health gets to that point.  She is a registered dietician at BSA and sees them when "the physician has seen they're above the 95th percentile, which is classified as obese."

Even if it has not yet taken a serious toll on their health, it has in their head.  She says "roughly 75 to 80 percent of people who are obese are also depressed. So we're contributing to our teenagers having poor self image."

Dr. Kauffman says obesity in our area is more common in the hispanic population because they tend to be more isulin-resistant.

In Potter County, 30% of people are obese.  In Randall, 25% are obese.

To help both physically and psychologically, both Wing and Kauffman stress a change in eating and exercise habits.

But everyone in the family must be all in, or the plan will not work.

Wing recommends anyone use  to help with diet plans.  It explains how much of each food group an individual should eat.