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Weight Management And Teens

Definition

Weight management is a plan to help an overweight or obese person reach and stay at a healthy body weight. Body mass index (abbreviated as BMI) is used to evaluate weight. This number is determined by dividing an individual's weight in kilograms by an individual's height in meters squared.

What is the information for this topic?

Anyone who takes in more calories than the body burns can expect to put on weight. Overweight and obesity are complex conditions with various factors that interact. These factors fit into the following groups:
  • behavioral
  • cultural
  • genetic
  • metabolic
  • physiological
  • social
Impact of overweight or obesityOverweight and obesity put a person at risk for other health problems, such as:
  • back pain
  • breathing problems
  • coronary heart disease
  • diabetes
  • gallbladder disease
  • high blood pressure
  • osteoarthritis
  • some types of cancer
  • stroke
Obesity can even lead to an early death. The risk grows as the degree of obesity increases.
Weight management planThe first goal should be a 10% weight loss over a 6-month period. The rate of weight loss should be 1 to 2 pounds a week, because faster weight loss does not improve the long-term results
After the first 6 months, additional weight management goals can be discussed with the healthcare professional. Some people may need to keep losing weight, while others may be ready to maintain their weight loss. No one treatment works for everyone.
NIH recommends these guidelines for the healthcare professional:
  • make changes to the treatment plan based on the person's preferences and responses
  • schedule regular office visits to track weight loss progress
  • set weight loss goals with the individual
  • understand how the treatment fits into other health care and self-care needs of the person
A successful weight management plan includes:
  • behavior therapy
  • dietary therapy
  • regular physical activity
The plan may also include medicine or surgery.
Dietary therapyDietary therapy works best when it meets the needs of the individual. In general, NIH recommends these guidelines.
  • A diet of 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day is appropriate for most women.
  • A diet of 1,600 calories a day is recommended for most men.
  • A diet of 1,600 calories a day may be right for women who exercise regularly or weigh over 165 pounds.
  • If the person does not lose weight on the 1,600-calorie diet, a diet of 1,200 calories a day may be recommended.
  • The healthcare professional may recommend adding 100 to 200 calories a day if the person is hungry.
  • Specific recommendations should be given to be sure that the person gets all essential nutrients.
If a teen chooses to participate in a structured weight management program, it should do the following:
  • be run by qualified health professionals
  • be self-monitoring
  • encourage behavior change
  • encourage enjoyable physical activity
  • focus on healthy eating
  • help the whole family focus on making healthy lifestyle changes
Exercise
Exercise is most successful if it is incorporated into the teen's lifestyle. Following are some effective forms of exercise:
  • bike riding
  • dancing
  • hiking
  • playing organized sports, such as basketball or soccer
  • rollerblading
  • skateboarding
  • swimming
  • walking instead of riding in a car
  • walking with a friend or parent
Underweight teens
Being underweight also is linked to health risks, especially if it is caused by malnutrition. A diet with too few calories may not supply the energy or nutrients needed for growth and development. Too little food energy leads to fatigue, irritability, and lack of concentration. Being underweight can decrease immune response to infection and disease. It also can interfere with normal menstrual cycles, increasing the risk for osteoporosis in later life.
Dieting can lead to more serious health problems, like anorexia nervosa or bulimia. These conditions are life-threatening and require professional help to treat.
Helping the underweight teen
Many of the tips listed above to help overweight teens also can be applied to underweight teens. Here are a few more that are geared to help underweight teens.
  • Choose nutritious foods with concentrated calories. Good choices include smoothie drinks, milkshakes, trail mix, peanut butter, and cheese with crackers.
  • Consider a strength-training routine to build some lean body mass along with body fat.
  • Eat three meals plus 3 to 4 snacks each day.
  • Follow the food guide pyramid healthy eating guidelines. Eat at the higher end of the serving ranges.
  • Have a high calorie snack before bed.
Families also need to work with teens and show them how to make healthy eating and exercise a part of their daily routine for the rest of their lives.

Sources

Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine 1995; 149:1085-1091

Berg FM. Children in weight crisis. Healthy Weight Journal. September/October 1996; 86-87.

Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, et al. Predicting Obesity in Young Adulthood from Childhood and Parental Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 337: 869-873.

Robinson TN. Reducing Children's Television Viewing to Prevent Obesity. Journal of the American Medical Association. October 27, 1999; 282(16):1561-1567.

Editorial. Childhood obesity: time for action, not complacency. British Medical Journal. February 2, 2000; 320:328-329.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight-control Information Network. Helping Your Overweight Child. NIH Publications No. 97-4096. E-text update: February 10, 1998.

Mayo Clinic Health Oasis Newsletter. Weight Control: Were You Born to be Fat? March,1999.

Sothern MS, Hunter S, Suskind RM, et al. Motivating the obese child to move: the role of structured exercise in pediatric weight management. South Med J. 1999 Jun; 92(6):577-84.

Kilpatrick M, Ohannessian C, Bartholomew JB. Adolescent weight management and perceptions: an analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of School Health. 1999 Apr; 69(4):148-52.

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