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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teens who are encouraged to diet are more likely to struggle with their weight as adults, according to new research.
Scientists say there are lots of factors involved with the obesity epidemic and how parents interact with their teenagers matters years later.
“They followed teenagers who had been encouraged to diet fifteen years later and found that they were more likely to be overweight, to be dieting, binge-eating and have lower body satisfaction,” said Susan Albers of the Cleveland Clinic.
The study looked at more than 500 teens.
Experts say dieting can persuade teens to develop a negative relationship with food.
Teens who feel pressured by parents to lose weight might try unhealthy things like skipping meals, taking supplements or relying on extremely low-calorie cleanses.
Those diets aren’t sustainable and people often end up gaining weight instead of losing it.
Doctors say it’s better to encourage mindful eating and not focus so much on numbers but having an overall healthy diet .
Here are four important skills to teach teens that all start with “S”: sit down, shut off devices, slow down and stress management.
“Its so important to give teens these skills at this juncture in their life and I talk to parents about tools, not rules,” Albers said. “So moving away from food rules, but really helping them to change their habits around the way that they eat.”
Pediatricians say many teens feel pressure from school and being over-scheduled; helping them manage stress will also reduce fattening comfort-eating.
The research also found as parents, adults who endured dieting pressure during their teen years were also more likely to encourage their own children to diet. A pattern is created and passed from one generation to the next.