According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are new ways to prevent teenage obesity. The report, which is called “Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents,” focuses on promoting healthy diets and lifestyles as opposed to intense dieting and medication to help teens overcome obesity.
Most of the report’s suggestions are based on the results of eating disorder programs that managed to help teenagers overcome their eating disorders. These programs found that adolescents who attempted to lower their body weight often resorted to unhealthy methods, like skipping meals and/or taking diet pills not appropriate for their age.
Although such methods do offer positive results in the short run, they can also cause other problems, such as classic anorexia nervosa, slow heart rate as well as postural hypotension. Because of these negative side effects, weight loss by means of strict anti-obesity programs were viewed as potentially harmful to teenagers, particularly those who have experienced serious medical conditions in the past.
The AAP’s new guidelines were put together to understand the connection between eating disorders among teens and weight loss programs, so as to offer pediatricians up-to-date information on how to identify behaviors that predispose their patients to obesity.
In addition to providing information, the guidelines also offer tips and assistance on obesity prevention to help pediatricians and other medical personnel identify persons who are most at risk of developing weight and obesity related problems.
According to the authors of the report, around 40% of patients who develop eating disorder problems fit the “easy-to-miss” category of teens who have weight problems and other related health issues. By recognizing these issues, the report can help parents and pediatricians identify conditions and behavior that predisposes teens to obesity, and then help them to address the problem using the safest methods.
For example, the report tells parents to discourage obese and overweight teens from dieting, skipping meals and using diet pills. Instead, they should be encouraged to modify their eating habits and to engage in more physical activities on a daily basis.
Another recommendation emphasizes the need for family meals, where parents will be able to monitor what their children eat and make corrections where necessary. Furthermore, the report also points out that parents who support the positive body image of their children can motivate them towards healthy eating habits.
Finally, the report also delves into the social issues experienced by overweight teens, such as teasing from peers as well as body-image related concerns. It addresses these problems by emphasizing the need for more social interaction as well as parental guidance.