Researchers have identified successful weight control strategies for teens that could help influence interventions for obesity in youth.

Kerri Boutelle, PhD, and co-authors examined differences in weight control behaviours, including dietary intake and physical activity, comparing overweight adolescents who lost weight and those who did not.

Experts divided weight control strategies into four categories, namely, Healthy Weight Control Behaviours, Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviours, Extreme Dietary Changes and Structured Behaviours.

The study found that the successful adolescents reported increased exercise levels, drinking less soda, walking more/climbing stairs and self-weighing.

The authors wrote, “First of all, our findings provide a glimpse of optimism that adolescents can lose a significant amount of weight and maintain this weight loss.”

“Second, our findings suggest that there are no magical solutions, and that behaviors such as eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less fat and decreasing sedentary time seem to offer the most promise for success...Self-weighing may be a helpful monitoring tool for overweight adolescents; in the current study, the largest percentage of adolescents who lost weight reported weighing themselves on a weekly basis, while the largest percentage of adolescents who did not lose weight reported weighing themselves less than monthly.” they said.

“Lastly, unhealthy weight control behaviors were not associated with being in the group that lost weight. Adolescents would benefit from hearing this information from dietitians and other health care providers to prevent development of unhealthy weight control behaviors.” they added.

The research was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

More In: Health | Sci-Tech