Empowerment in Adolescent Obesity: State of the Science


Obesity rates have dramatically increased across the nation. Rural areas, however, have a higher rate of obesity and physical inactivity than urban areas. Interventions for obese adolescents require change behavior and motivation. One factor involved in this process is empowerment. Empowerment may be defined differently by disciplines, yet the overall meaning is similar. Self-awareness, enabled potential, and outcome related activities are defining attributes of the concept. This paper provides a conceptual analysis of empowerment through the literature, examines methodological tools and issues, and describes empirical aspects of the concept. A literature review of the aspects of empowerment and its relationship to obesity shows that low self-esteem and obesity are related. More research is needed to adequately understand how self-esteem, motivation, and goal-directed behavior impact the process of reducing obesity in the adolescent population. The cultural definition of empowerment must be considered to adequately understand the influence of the concept in adolescent weight reduction.

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