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Teenagers and Weight Loss
Use of Laxatives, Fasting Diets, Medications, Vomiting by Adolescents to Lose Weight
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US Teenagers Using Unhealthy Weight Loss Methods to Lose Weight

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American teenagers are using unhealthy means to try to control their weight, often inappropriately, according to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC). Around a third of females and 20 percent of males who were attempting to lose weight were using fasting, medications or laxatives. Females trying to lose weight were also 40 percent more likely to smoke than females who were not seeking weight loss. This was based on data from a 1999 study of 15,349 high school attendees.

Although only 25 percent of the students were deemed overweight or at serious risk of becoming so, 43 percent were trying active weight loss and a further 19 percent were working to keep their weight stable. Some were using exercise and dietary modification; 62 percent of females and 41 percent of males using dieting were using sensible methods, and 32 percent of such females and 17 percent of males were using risky techniques such as laxatives, fasting, medications or vomiting. Only 25 percent of these teens were consuming five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

Source: Lowry R, et al. J Adolesc Health 31:133-44

[Commentary by J. Birkbeck] It is unfortunate that the definitions used for overweight and obesity - the top 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of weight for age and gender - are, in our opinion, quite unsatisfactory. If, for the sake of argument, a majority of the population have too much (central) body fat for optimum current and future health, which is the only definition that can be sustained, this would be much more than the top 15 percent. Overfatness must be measured in absolute terms, not in relation only to that population. Body mass index (BMI) may have its shortcomings, but at least it has been shown in population terms to be a surrogate for risk from overfatness. Recent observation suggests that more than 15 percent of American teens are too fat.

Weight Loss & Weight Management
An increase in physical activity is an important part of your weight loss program. Physical activity improves your muscle/fat ratio - thus raising metabolism for easier weight loss - and boosts your motivation to maintain the weight you lose.

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