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Teenage Weight Loss -- How Teenagers Can Safely Lose Weight


Teenagers with body mass indices between 25 and 30 require immediate medical attention. The internal stress caused from so much weight almost guarantees the premature development of medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and stroke.

There's no question that aggressive weight loss methods are necessary and these teenagers need to be followed by medical experts for years to come. But what about teenagers with body mass indices just below 25? Is it safe for this group of overweight and mildly obese teenagers to lose weight?

The verdict is still out -- the weight loss community continues to wait for more evidence supporting aggressive weight loss methods for overweight teenagers. I say while we wait, let's lose some weight.

But we don't need to be so aggressive with this group. Overweight teenagers need to lose weight, but in a slow, gradual process. Lasting weight loss and the development of positive habits should replace the push for immediate weight loss in teenagers with body mass indices between 22 and 25.

The there's the teenager wanting to lose weight for purely cosmetic reasons. How do we approach this fragile situation as parents and professionals? We can't just say no to her for fear she might turn to unhealthy means to lose weight. But we can't just give him a green light and say go for it, either.

The rest of this article focuses on the cosmetic teenage weight loss dilemma. The best thing I can do is at least provide some ground rules for teenagers with body mass indices less than 22 who insist on losing weight.

Cosmetic Teenage Weight Loss -- The Ground Rules

Here's a simple, straight forward list of ground rules for teenagers wanting to lose weight for cosmetic reasons:

  • Losing weight with a body mass index less than 19 is not recommended and might even be harmful. Things like eating disorders, endocrine abnormalities, stunted growth, and anorexia are all well documented consequences from unnecessary teenage weight loss.

  • Teenagers with body mass indices between 20 and 22, can lose 5 to 10 pounds in a safe and effective manner.

  • The primary mechanism for teenage weight loss is always the "burning" of excess calories through increased physical activity. A combination of aerobic exercises and resistance training works fast and produces the best results.

  • Teenage weight loss by restricting calories should be kept to a minimum. A slow, gradual, and controlled restriction of calories is key. I recommend starting with a 5% reduction of calories from baseline for two weeks. This is followed by a 10% reduction for one week and then a 15% reduction (if necessary) for one week.

  • Dedication to a consistent exercise program usually produces the weight loss desired without any changes to the caloric intake. A more natural way to reduce calories comes from eating a more balanced and nutritious diet, including more servings of fruits and vegetables.

  • Emphasizing consistent exercise and a nutritious diet is often all that is needed for a teenager to drop some weight, firm and tone muscle, and achieve her "cosmetic" goals.
  • For the actual steps to safe and effective teenage weight loss, additional information on resistance training, and guidelines for restricting calories, use this link...

    Teenage Weight Loss Plan

    To Healthy Living!

    Michael A. Smith, MD
    Chief Medical Consultant
    Diet Basics Website

    Dr. Smith is the Chief Medical Consultant for Diet Basics, a content rich website dedicated to all dieters. Visit his site and subscribe to his very popular RSS feed, read by thousands everyday. Diet Basics is dedicated to helping you succeed.


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