Helping Teens Lose Weight

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • According to statistics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 51% of obese teen girls and 37% of obese teen boys will become significantly obese by age 30.  That can mean a lifelong struggle with weight and accompanying health issues like heart disease, diabetes, early strokes, poor quality of life and low self esteem.  A recently profiled teen in USA Today's Life section, who was carrying sixty plus extra pounds, decided to lose the extra weight.  And her efforts will now help to start the National Adolescent Weight Control Registry, fashioned after the adult National Weight Control Registry that documents adults who have successfully lost more than 50 pounds and maintained that weight loss for more than three years.  One of the goals of this new teen registry will be for researchers to see what weight loss techniques these teens use, and the role that parents may have played in supporting successful weight loss.  In the case of these overweight teens, a weight loss of at least 10 pounds kept off for one year will be the criteria for joining the teen registry.

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    The teen profiled in the USA Today column, Meagan Blanchette, lost 60 pounds in about 18 months by joining Weight Watchers, working out at a gym and dancing, and those habits continue as she attempts to maintain her new 145 pound weight.  Her mother's support included driving the teen to Weight Watcher's meetings, buying and cooking healthy food together, and driving her to the gym and dance classes.  The teen admits to having to use willpower to withstand the peer pressure of constant food temptations.  She concurs that fighting food temptations is a mind game, but her goal of wanting to hula dance (and look good while doing it) provided incredible incentive to lose the weight.  Most experts agree that a powerful goal or incentive can often be the impetus for an overweight person to finally get inspired and lose the excess weight.  The teen also credited her parents with being willing to spend more in order to buy healthier food options.


    The new registry is being compiled and tracked by Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University.  She is also one of the co-founders of the adult National Weight Control Registry.

    (This information was compiled from USA Today Life Section, November 16, 2010, A girl's story of losing weight, keeping it off by Nanci Hellmich)



Published On: November 23, 2010