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The Weight-Gain Diet

Overweight adolescents who decide to get slimmer and healthier are doing themselves a big favor—unless they go about it the wrong way. While a diet is often a good idea, a bad diet can be just as dangerous as doing nothing at all. As part of an ongoing research program, the University of Minnesota’s Project E.A.T. (for Eating Among Teens), surveyed more than 2,000 adolescents in 1999 about their weight and the diet strategies they used to keep it under control. They then caught up with them again in 2004 to see how the various methods the kids used worked out. The results were published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

In general, the researchers found that teens who relied on unhealthy weight-control strategies such as crash diets or fad diets were three times more likely to be overweight at the end of the five-year period than were the other kids. What’s more, the extreme dieters were also at higher risk for such dangerous behavior as binge-eating, self-induced vomiting and abuse of diet pills, laxatives and diuretics.

What it Means: Trying to drop 25 pounds in a month to fit into a prom dress or get ready for a senior photo may seem like a good idea, but getting healthy and staying that way is about a lot more than the temporary numbers on the scale. The nutritionists and other scientists behind Project E.A.T. stress that without an overall change in lifestyle—including regular exercise and balanced eating habits—most diets are doomed to fail. Only about 16% of the thousands of kids they’ve interviewed, for example, eat more than three servings of vegetables per day. Only about 30% meet the five-a-day rule for fruits and vegetables. It’s a safe bet that the rest of the kids aren’t going hungry, which means that they’re filling up on other things. With 67% of the American population overweight or obese—and with related ills such as diabetes and heart disease on the rise—we’re learning the hard way what happens when you start life on the wrong dietary foot. For teens and other kids, there’s still time to get things right.

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Filed under: Health

4 Responses

  1. themiddlemanager says:

    Excellent post!

  2. […] The Weight-Gain Diet « Nice things 2 Share Explore posts in the same categories: Misc, Miscellaneous, Nutrition, Health and Fitness, Weight Loss, Fat, Diet, Burning Fat, Calorie Counting, Ripped Abs […]

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