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

d give suggestions on how to modify their behaviors," Lenhart said.

Dr. Yolandra Hancock, a primary care pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said that adolescents are motivated to change, but there is a lack of education about how to do that in a healthy way.

"The study demonstrates a clear lack of understanding about how much calories are burned during exercise," she said. "To burn off the calories in one sugary soda, you need to run a mile, and most teenagers don't engage in that level of physical activity," Hancock noted.

"If an adolescent is trying to lose weight, it is important to ask them how they are going about it, because we may find out that there is lack of education about calories in and calories out," she added. "This is especially important in adolescents and teens because they are starting to make decisions for themselves in terms of what they will eat and how often they will exercise."

Hancock usually stresses the easy-to-understand 5-2-1-0 rule to overweight and obese teens who want and need to lose weight. This refers to five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of screen time such as TV or video games a day, one hour of physical activity a day, and zero or very little sugar-sweetened beverages a day.

There is also room for compromise in this rule, she added. For example, "if an overweight or obese young man wants to play video games, they can play 'Just Dance' . . . or other active video games," she said. "There is a way to meet in the middle."

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

First Lady Michelle Obama is spearheading an effort to end childhood obesity with her Let's Move campaign.

SOURCES: Clare Lenhart, M.P.H., publi
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