A new season of MTV’s “I Used to be Fat” starts October 11, 2011. This hit show had viewers glued to the screen last year as young adults embarked on intense life transformations.
The show is a documentary series highlighting overweight teenagers the summer before they start college. The profiled teens are desperate to shed pounds and are surprised by a fitness expert knocking at their door to help them accomplish their goals.
The teens go through intense fitness regimens and work alongside experts to learn how to make lifestyle changes. They also begin to understand the habits that caused them to gain so much weight in the first place.
Tune in to Dr. Drew’s Life Changers, his new daytime talk show, today, September 26th, as two former American Idols join Dr. Drew in helping two teens fight in their weight loss battle.
Together, through rigorous boot camps and new meal plans, former contestants Stefano Langone and Pia Toscano join two teen girls as they begin their journey to health.
Parenting is the most difficult, most important job you are ever going to have. While there are many happy, feel-good moments, there are also painful and uncomfortable moments; it’s all part of being a parent. Traditionally, one of the most uncomfortable moments for a parent was thought to be the discussion of “the birds and the bees”. While talking to your kids about where babies come from may be difficult, a recent study has revealed that there is another conversation that parents dread more.
The idea of talking to your kids about maintaining a healthy weight is so frightening for parents that more than 20 percent admit to never broaching the subject at all, according to research from the Raising Fit Kids study, a partnership between webMD and Stanford University. Compare that to 5 percent who are uncomfortable discussing alcohol, drugs, and smoking; 10 percent of parents who are uncomfortable discussing sex; and nearly 25 percent of parents who are uncomfortable discussing weight and health. It is probably the same 20 percent of parents that seem to believe that the pediatrician should be the one responsible for discussing health and weight with their children.
There is a new theory about the cause of the childhood obesity epidemic. Seattle-based pediatrician Robert A. Pretlow M.D.’s 10-year research was recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, “Eating Disorders,” under the title “Addiction to Highly-Pleasurable Food as a Cause of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: A Qualitative Internet Study.” He has also released his full findings in book format in “Overweight: What Kids Say: What’s Really Behind the Childhood Obesity Epidemic.” The study suggests that children are displaying symptoms of addiction to salty, sugary, and/or fatty foods causing over-eating behaviors initially and obesity eventually.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual requires that at least three of the seven following symptoms are demonstrated for a diagnosis of dependence, which is more commonly understood as “addiction”:
- Tolerance – the need for more of a substance to obtain the same effect
- Withdrawal – physical or psychological symptoms accompanying decreased use
- Increased use over time
- Unsuccessful attempts and/or desire to decrease intake
- Time spent obtaining, using, and recovering from substance
- Neglecting other activities for substance
- Continued use despite adverse consequences
Bariatric weight loss surgery is on the rise every year in America. Between 200,000 and 250,000 adults receive bariatric surgery annually. A smaller statistic that seems to carry more weight is the fact that about 1,000 American teenagers received some sort of weight loss surgery last year and the number is increasing every day.
The most common types of bariactric procedures are gastric bypass, gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy, and all involve surgery which is very risky, especially for teenagers.
While some of the risks for post-op teenagers come from the surgery itself, other risks come from the ability of the patient to follow rules. Since the procedures limit the amount of food one can eat, malnutrition is a very serious threat, made worse for teenagers who are still developing and need those nutrients for proper growth. Because of the risk of malnutrition, most patients are required to be on a strict vitamin regimen for the rest of their lives to ensure the body receives the vital elements it can no longer obtain from food.
Teen star Selena Gomez was recently hospitalized for malnutrition. Since her hospitalization she’s announced that her condition was a result of bad nutrition, not a lack of eating. According to a People magazine article, the 18-year old said that she just has unhealthy eating habits. “The problem is I don’t eat right. I love everything that’s possibly not good for me.”
Gomez claims that she has always had bad eating habits. She mentions that since childhood she’s always added an unhealthy element to her food in order to enjoy it. Gomez also describes her favorite foods as junk food. Since her diagnosis of malnourishment, the star states that her mother is watching her closely and forcing vitamins in her.
This event made national news due to the celebrity status of the patient, but it’s quite possible that this type of malnutrition is common among many teens in this country.
As teenagers grow in independence, begin earning their own money, driving their own cars, and making their own meal choices, are they making good ones?
Weight loss for kids is a touchy topic. It’s a polarizing issue with almost no middle ground, but rarely is it cut and dried. With obesity rates ever climbing and adult diseases appearing in younger and younger children, it’s become apparent that these are areas of concern that need to be addressed.
One of the most visible age groups to struggle with their weight would be the teenager. If you have a teenager struggling with weight issues, it may be a discussion that your child doesn’t want to have with you. How can you face this problem without alienating your child?
Weight loss for teens is challenging, as their bodies are constantly growing and changing and height has not yet finished in many cases. An extensive review of your child’s height and weight with their doctor is essential. The most effective weight loss plans for anyone involve a combination of diet, exercise and healthy living and place emphasis on creating a healthy lifestyle change. There are many diet plans that are geared towards teenagers; here are a few of the best.
As I’m sure you remember all too well, the teen years are a time of insecurities and self esteem issues. As children turn into adults, their bodies grow and change in ways they can’t control, which can sometimes lead kids to unhealthy measures to look like the celebrities in their favorite magazines.
No one is safe from the pressures of achieving the “perfect” body, but kids are exceptionally susceptible to taking drastic steps in their pursuit of being attractive to their peers. Prom season is an especially tough time, as teen girls are wanting to look amazing in that perfect dress on their special night. Just as adult women are prone to crash dieting for an upcoming wedding, reunion, or vacation, prom is usually the first big event where young girls feel the pressure to look their best.
Young girls know even less about healthy eating and exercise than the average adult, which is illustrated by the shocking amount of eating disorders in teens. Kids think in black and white, all or nothing, and patience is not their strongest trait, making slow, steady weight loss less appealing to them than fad dieting.
Kate Setter is a member of the media relations team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she contributes to and manages Change the Outcome (www.cincinnatichildrensblog.org), the hospital’s corporate blog. She most often writes about pediatric public health issues, including obesity, pre term birth and immunization.
Perhaps nothing has been written, talked about or wrestled with more in health care circles the past few years than obesity- and for good reason. Obesity is becoming a national epidemic. The cost to treat its related ailments is approaching $150 billion a year and almost one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese.
Pediatricians across the country, including at Cincinnati Children’s, are doing their best to address overweight and obesity issues with patients and families, but many morbidly obese teenagers are finding themselves out of options to reverse the trajectory of their weight issues.
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that more than half a million adolescents in the United States could qualify for a diagnosed eating disorder according to research published at Archives of General Psychiatry. The study included structured interviews with more than 10,000 teenagers and their parents. The good news is that more than half a million is just under three percent of adolescents.
It is estimated than 0.3 percent of teens will suffer from anorexia nervosa, 0.9 percent will suffer from bulimia nervosa, and 1.6 percent will suffer from binge-eating disorder. Although many of the kids will experience some mental health treatment, it is generally not eating disorder specific.
While I am glad to read a low percentage of teens experience eating disorders, it is essential that proper treatment is provided to those kids that need it. Eating disorders require special treatment by a trained professional and often a team of professionals. The best treatments with which I am familiar include medical professionals, nutritionists, counselors, psychiatrists, and peer groups. Eating disorders are complicated syndromes that must take into account and treat a variety of factors.