There was a time in our history when the word, obesity, was rarely used. Overweight people used terms like "heavy," "pudgy," "chubby" and words like that. In the Recovery Group Community we have come to know that we are dealing with a serious illness and sometimes ... it becomes a life-threatening one. We have the unique advantage of being a group in which the only requirement for membership is to have the desire to quit eating compulsively. When we abstain from doing that, we are said to be abstinent. This mission statement will go on to define what obesity means, the causes and risk factors of it and, whether or not you are a teen-ager, a kid or an adult, to take very seriously the disease of compulsive eating.

Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Doctors often use a formula based on your height and weight called the body mass index (BMI) to determine if you are obese. Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese. Extreme obesity, also called severe obesity or morbid obesity, occurs when you have a BMI of 40 or more. With morbid obesity, you are especially likely to have serious health problems.

Compulsive overeating is a deadly and cunning disease. In fact, the World Health Organization "projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese." Sadly, "at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight globally in 2005". These numbers are likely to be much higher in 2010. Therefore, Overeaters Anonymous has tailored its 12 steps to meet the needs of our children and youth.

The intention of The Recovery Group, an online resource for compulsive overeaters worldwide, is to make the 12 steps accessible to our youth, as this program has been shown to be effective in treating this terrible disease. Of course, The Recovery Group recognizes that children and teens may be vulnerable and therefore, The Recovery Group is developing safety measures as part of this necessary and helpful program. In particular, we are focusing our efforts on safety in sponsorship and on-line anonymity. The Recovery Group is also addressing the delicate issues of duty of care and reporting abuse. Please feel free to ask questions about this hopeful program and be assured that child safety is our first priority.

TRG's Youth Program is an important part of The Recovery Group community ... and the young people participating in this program will have available to them all resources of Overeaters Anonymous and the Recovery Group, including Online OA Meetings, a Newcomers Orientation Program, studies, workshops and much more. If the problem of obesity can be confronted by today's youth, the chances of them not growing into tomorrow's obese adults is significantly higher. What a joy it would be for all of us to observe young people interacting with one another in their very own support loop and online meetings.

While much of this particular web page is devoted to the physical part of the disease of compulsive eating, the dedicated Trusted Servants and Meeting Leaders are mindful of the efficacy of the Twelve Step Program of Overeaters Anonymous and the focus is always on what we term, the 'three legged stool.' We compare the three legs of the stool to physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. All three must receive equal emphasis. Like the 3-legged-stool, when one becomes wobbly, it affects the other two and when one leg is broken, we're in big trouble. Most programs focus on the physical. The Recovery Group's Youth Program will focus on not only the physical but the emotional and spiritual as well. The Recovery Group believes that our mission should be to be more aggressive by attracting not only the parents of obese teens and kids ... but the young people themselves. Only a compulsive eater understands the heartbreak connecting with compulsive eating and our community in fifteen years of interaction with men and women from every culture and country around the globe is dedicated to making a difference.

The Mayo Clinic has been instrumental in dealing with the physical aspects of obesity in teens and children and Overeaters Anonymous has long been interested in reaching this population. It would be well worth the time to read some research done by Mayo and possibly to join us and discuss much of this in our COKids group of parents and other caregivers. To extrapolate parts of this would not be a bad idea and go over certain aspects of it.

The section below is from various staff members of the renowned Mayo Clinic and you may read more on their website at www.mayoclinic.com


Do you know when to be concerned about your child's weight? Of course, all children gain weight as they grow older. But extra pounds more than what's needed to support their growth and development can lead to childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

One of the best strategies to combat excess weight in your child is to improve the diet and exercise levels of your entire family. This helps protect the health of your child now and in the future.


Although there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, most excess weight is caused by kids eating too much and exercising too little. Children, unlike adults, need extra nutrients and calories to fuel their growth and development. So if they consume the calories needed for daily activities, growth and metabolism, they add pounds in proportion to their growth. But children who eat more calories than needed gain weight beyond what's required to support their growing bodies.

There are other factors at work in children which contribute to obesity; however, they affect a very small proportion of children. In the general population, eating and exercise habits play a much larger role.


Many factors usually working in combination increase your child's risk of becoming overweight:

  • Diet. Regular consumption of high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, contribute to weight gain. High-fat foods are dense in calories. Loading up on soft drinks, candy and desserts also can cause weight gain. Foods and beverages like these are high in sugar and calories.
  • Inactivity. Sedentary kids are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn calories through physical activity. Inactive leisure activities, such as watching television or playing video games, contribute to the problem.
  • Genetics. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be genetically predisposed to put on excess weight, especially in an environment where high-calorie food is always available and physical activity isn't encouraged.
  • Psychological factors. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress or boredom. Their parents may have similar tendencies.
In you would like information about the specific support groups, please use the links above. If you would like to know more about the Recovery Group Online Meetings, please write to MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you'd like to give service here, please write to TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to ask questions about the specific support groups for young people and their caretakers, please contact TRGDirectorofAdms@yahoo.com

To join COKids, please send a blank email to:

To join Kids, please send a blank email to:

To join Teens, please send a blank email to:

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