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Extreme Dieting Leads to Teen Obesity

With the plague of high-fat, fast-food restaurants flooding the streets and airwaves about their latest must-try meal deals, it's not surprising obesity rates have soared to epidemic proportions in this country and throughout the world, particularly among children raised by obese mothers.

Researchers at the University of Texas have identified a set of obesity risk factors for an age group that probably doesn't get as much attention as they deserve: Nearly 500 teenage girls between ages 11-15. Those who struggle with depression or attempt radical diet methods -- vomiting, skipping meals and using laxatives -- are more prone to become obese than girls who sometimes eat way too much.

In fact, scientists found such harsh methods can promote weight gains, not at all surprising according to a British study I posted last year about an obsession with fad dieting that can lead to a yo-yo effect that packs on the pounds. According to the American Dietetic Association, such rigid dieting can lead to overeating or, even worse, metabolic changes because your body doesn't know when the next "normal" meal is coming.

Fact is, there are no short cuts or magic pills that will help your kids lose weight and keep it off. It starts with learning about your family's individual nutritional types, and providing meals and snacks based around them. A daily exercise routine is another critical factor in this process.

Perhaps, the most important factor for teens is helping them get a handle on the emotional component that contributes greatly to their obesity, or even worse, the fear behind it. Rather than recommend antidepressants masquerading as cure-alls, I recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique, the energy psychology tool I use daily in my practice. Addressing those challenges head-on will help teens get a better handle on their emotions, without taking a toxic drug.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology April 2005 Free Full-Text Article

Yahoo News April 20, 2005

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