Controlled Programs Help Teen Girls with Weight Issues

Losing weight is not typically seen as an easy task. Add in factors like being a teenage girl with a body that is constantly changing, and losing weight may be even more difficult. Certain elements can aide in the success of weight loss as a newly released study conducted by Kaiser Permanente has shown. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and looked at 208 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 living in Oregon and Washington. The observations of the study took place in the years 2005-2009 with all of the participants being classified as obese at the beginning of the study. The young girls in this study were divided into two groups – one group that received only regular care from their doctors and one group that was placed on a program featuring regular group meetings, information on changing their lifestyle with behavioral counseling. The girls that were on the specified program were also asked to chart their daily calories, exercise and weight.

Lead author and senior investigator with Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Lynn DeBar was quoted as saying, “Nearly one-third of teenage girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are overweight or obese, and many of them are likely to be obese adults. Our study shows that intervention programs can help these girls achieve long-term success managing their weight and also learning new habits that will hopefully carry over into their adult life.”

Some of the goals of the Kaiser Permanente program were to focus on cutting down portion sizes, reduce the consumption of fast food and sweetened beverages and draw attention to the types of foods the girls were eating regularly. Results were gathered after six and 12 months for the girls that participated in the program and those that only received regular care.

Both groups had lower body mass index percentage levels. At the start of the study, the girls were in the 97th percentile which is considered obese. The girls who went through the Kaiser program lowered their body mass index to the 95th percentile while the girls receiving only the doctor care were down to the 96th percentile. It was also determined that the girls in the Kaiser program continued to lose weight as the months went on.

For teens that don’t have access to a program like the one conducted by Kaiser Permanente, but may need to lose weight, there are safe ways to do it. First, an extensive review of your teen’s height and weight with their doctor is absolutely necessary. The doctor can give guidance on a plan that offers slow and steady weight loss of one to two pounds per week, with an emphasis on making healthy lifestyle changes. Some programs that have worked well for teen weight loss include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids and Camp Shane. Being armed with knowledge and the help of your teen’s doctor is the best way to approach the subject of weight loss and help your teen reach a healthy weight.

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