Anything that fosters a positive balance between energy intake and expenditure would be considered a risk factor for obesity. Understanding risk factors for obesity in adolescents would require large-population–based, prospective longitudinal studies. Since the rapid increase in obesity began in the late 1970s, enough time has not passed to complete such robust data collection. However, one of the strongest predictors of adolescent obesity is childhood overweight, so the risks in children are generally also risks for adolescents. This entry describes the known risk factors that increase the likelihood of a child or adolescent being or becoming obese.

Risk factors for multifactorial conditions such as obesity can be illustrated through adaptation of the socio-ecological model of health behaviors, as shown in Figure 1. This model shows how ...

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