Concern with weight and shape is extremely common during the adolescent years. In addition to being exposed to the very real health risks of obesity and poor nutrition, teenagers are being exposed to the unrealistically thin beauty ideal that is portrayed in the media 1. Unfortunately, this overemphasis on the importance of being thin is internalized by youth who equate thinness with beauty, success and health. Through media exposure, teenagers are also exposed to a number of ways to lose weight and achieve this thin ideal. The sources of information available on health and nutrition are often dubious and unreliable, motivated less by scientific evidence than by fad trends and financial incentives. The net result is that many teenagers feel the cultural pressure to be thinner than is required for good health, and may try to achieve this goal through poor and sometimes dangerous nutritional choices. Recent Canadian data demonstrate that nearly one-half of Ontario teenagers 12 to 18 years attending public school feel unhappy about their weight 2. Even among preadolescents, a significant number of children have a desire to be thinner 3 — 5. American 5 — 10, Australian 11 — 13 and British 14 data also suggest similar high rates of attempted weight loss among adolescents. Dieting is a poorly defined behaviour that undoubtedly has various meanings to patients and professionals alike, but to most, it suggests an intentional, often temporary, change in eating to achieve weight loss 3, 17,
Osteoporosis: A new morbidity for dieting female adolescence? Eat balanced meals. Your child might also start changing his eating habits. Individual factors Female Overweight and obesity Body image dissatisfaction and distortion Low self-esteem Low sense of control over life Psychiatric symptoms: depression and anxiety Vegetarianism Early puberty. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Obesity contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing problems and trouble sleeping. While it is not known if these effects are also true for children and youth, these symptoms could have serious implications on the immature adolescent who is undergoing rapid social and psychological development.
Zupanick, Psy. While some adolescents struggle with eating too much and become overweight or obese, other youth overly-restrict their food intake through the use of dangerous and unhealthy dieting practices and fail to meet their bodies’ minimum nutritional requirements. As surprising as it may seem, some youth also excessively exercise their bodies in an effort to control their weight. While exercise is generally considered a healthy activity, it can be misused when the body is not provided sufficient rest and recovery periods, or when caloric intake is inadequate to meet the demands of the physical activity. When teens use exercise as a way to “punish” themselves for food indulgences or weight gain, or become highly anxious when they are prevented from exercising such as during an injury or illness, this can indicate a problem may be developing such as an eating disorder. Typically, parents worry about their daughters using unhealthy dieting practices for weight control, but guys can also make unwise, weight-loss-inspired decisions that can be damaging to their body. Some teens just make poor nutrition choices because they don’t understand how their bodies use calories as fuel, but some teens make intentional decisions to lower their weight, sometimes to dangerously low levels, using drastic and unhealthy methods. When teens purposefully attempt to become underweight, it can have devastating effects on their bodies. Youth that do not consume enough calories, or fail to make the right food choices, will become tired, weak, and moody.