The Negative Effects of Frequent Dieting During Teenage Years

During the adolescent years the body is still experiencing growth and development. Interfering with this process through frequent dieting can have a detrimental effect on growth, damage organs and potentially cause death. That said, the need for teens to undertake healthy dieting is rising exponentially as obesity in adolescents has increased by 75% in the past three decades. But it isn’t just those who are overweight that undertake diets. Cross-sectional surveys have shown that a large percentage of adolescents, even those of normal weight, diet at some point in their teenage years.

Dieting as a general term refers to cutting down on excess and unhealthy food intake. This should mean cutting out foods with high sugar, salt and preservative volume and replacing them with healthy foods containing a high volume of nutrients, but in the modern day this isn’t the case. Teenagers are increasingly following particular food plans which cut out essential nutrients in a bid to lose weight. This negative dieting is affecting the general health of teens, globally.

Dieting is a modern day invention and historically not something our ancestors did, for example you never see a picture of a fat caveman. If teenagers follow a healthy diet and regular exercise routine the need for dieting is eliminated.

Food affects hormonal balance in the body. In teenagers this is heightened due to an already overactive hormonal system. Eating the wrong foods or cutting out the right foods can stunt growth, lead to depression, irrational behavior, tiredness and hyperactive behavior.

As well as physiological effects, there are psychological effects which accompany frequent dieting and can last deep into later life. Consistently chasing the media image of “the perfect body” is robbing many teens of their youth as they become overly concerned with appearance and weight, distracting from study time, academic and sporting achievements and healthy socializing. Teenagers who become obsessed with their weight and start frequent or drastic dieting can end up anorexic or bulimic. Both of these conditions are potentially very dangerous and can permanently damage organs.

It isn’t just weight loss diets that are a problem. A growing amount of teenage boys are becoming obsessed with growing muscles and putting on weight to appear bigger and more masculine. Bodybuilding can negatively affect muscle formation if the muscles are still in the stages of adolescent growth.

Frequent dieting is unhealthy, yet media pressure on both teenage boys and girls to be a particular size and shape is causing psychological issues leading to excessive dieting and unnatural eating habits. The teenage body is undeveloped and is therefore at greater risk of cardiovascular problems and even death from crash dieting. Unhealthy dieting practices that promise rapid weight loss over short periods of time are not the answer to teenage obesity problems. Sensible eating practice advised by a physician is the only safe way to control weight fluctuation and sustain a healthy body weight.










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