Focusing on Health, Rather Than Weight, Better for Adolescents

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Focusing on a healthy lifestyle as opposed to weight prevents obesity and eating disorders in adolescents.
Focusing on a healthy lifestyle as opposed to weight prevents obesity and eating disorders in adolescents.

(HealthDay News) — When teenagers are overweight, parents and doctors should encourage a healthy lifestyle rather than focus on the number on the scale, according to new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and published in Pediatrics.

In the new guidelines that address both adolescent obesity and eating disorders, the AAP says adults should move away from "weight talk," and instead help children have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.

The AAP recommends having family meals as often as possible. Research indicates that children who sit down to eat with their family tend to eat more healthy foods, and are less likely to diet or take extreme measures to lose weight.

"The focus should be on a healthy lifestyle rather than on weight," wrote the guideline authors. "Evidence suggests that obesity prevention and treatment, if conducted correctly, do not predispose to eating disorders."

Reference

  1. Golden NH, Schneider M, Wood C; for the Committee on Nutrition, Committee on Adolescence, Section on Obesity. Preventing eating disorders and obesity in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2016. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1649.
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