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Overweight Teens Don't Seem to Grasp Weight Loss Rules
Date:11/2/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Obese teens who want to lose weight may not be going about it in the most healthy or effective ways, according to new research.

Simply put, the researchers said, teens trying to drop the pounds don't seem to fully understand the link between exercise and calories. The analysis of nearly 44,000 adolescents who participated in the Philadelphia Youth Risk Behavioral Survey showed that, among the obese, girls who exercised still drank soda and boys didn't exercise at all.

In addition, three-quarters of the obese teens said they were trying to lose weight, but these were also the teens more likely to smoke, possibly as a weight loss aid, the study suggested.

U.S. childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades, and nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese today. The new study, slated for presentation at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., sheds some light on why reducing these rates is such an uphill battle.

Obese girls who were trying to lose weight were more likely to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, but they were also more likely to consume a sugary soda on a daily basis, which basically offsets many of the benefits of their daily exercise, said the study's author, Clare Lenhart, a public health doctoral candidate at Temple University in Philadelphia.

"Most of them are interested in losing weight and that is a positive, but the soda has enough calories to make up for all of those that they expended during physical activity," she explained.

Obese males who were trying to lose weight did not exercise and spent more than three hours a day playing video games, the study showed.

"If someone is obese and trying to lose weight, doctors need to ask follow-up questions to find out how they are going about it an
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