Control Teen Obesity to Improve Mental and Physical Health

Posted: Mar 12 in Bounce by

A recent study has shown that adopting healthy behavior with regards to food and exercise is the most successful method of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. With a third of the children in the United States being affected by obesity, and because teen obesity is one of the strongest predictors of adult obesity, it’s essential that researchers identify ways to stem obesity when the patient is an adolescent.

Surveying 62 adolescents who had successfully lost weight and 68 who had not, the researchers split the strategies used for weight loss into four categories. With the first category, “Healthy Weight Control Behaviors” (HWCB), participants had reduced their intake of calories, ate fewer high-fat foods, drank less soda, exercised more frequently, weighed themselves, and ate and drank healthier alternatives. “Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors” (UWCB) included participants who used laxatives or diuretics, induced vomiting, smoked, or fasted. In the third category, “Extreme Dietary Changes” (EDC), participants used liquid diet supplements, fasted, increased their protein take, or followed a structured diet such as the Atkins diet. The final category, “Structured Behaviors” (SB), included working with a professional, consuming only a specific amount of calories, and recording calorie intake.

Adolescents who used HWCB were the highest percentage of the group who lost weight. The third and fourth categories had marginal success, and none of the participants who followed UWCB were in the group that lost weight. The authors find this promising because it demonstrates that “adolescents can lose a significant amount of weight and maintain this weight loss. Second, our findings suggest that there are no magical solutions, and that behaviors such as eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less fat and decreasing sedentary time seem to offer the most promise for success…”

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