New AAP guidelines aim at creating a more healthy and less-weight obsessed environment for children that will help cultivate more positive habits and mindset around weight.
Teenagers’ relationship with food can be a complicated one. With eating disorders or issues with being overweight more likely in young adults, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests more needs to be done to shift focus on healthy eating and lifestyles.
The guidelines suggest encouraging healthy eating behaviors such as families eating healthy, nutritious meals together but the biggest factor is making sure parents project a healthy attitude towards body image. Negative talk around weight is thought to affect children and young adults lowering physical satisfaction much more than than we think.
Focusing on weight seems to be the biggest driver when it comes to developing weight issues including eating disorders in children. Dieting is extremely detrimental to health in young people especially when they are still growing and developing into adults – cutting calories and obsession with calories intake is a massive problem.
“Scientific evidence increasingly shows that for teenagers, dieting is bad news,” states Dr. Neville Golden, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and one of the authors of the new guidelines. “It’s not unusual for us to see young people who have rapidly lost a lot of weight but are not healthy — they end up in the hospital attached to a heart monitor with unstable vital signs.”
By focusing more on healthy eating and overall lifestyle rather than the amount of food is the key to cultivating a mindset that steers children away from the concern of putting on pounds.
The five main outcomes from the guidelines are: encouraging healthy family meals together, promoting a healthy body image, discourage dieting or skipping meals in order to lose weight, encourage conversations around healthy eating rather than weight, monitor weight loss in overweight teens in case starvation methods are involved.
The hope is to ultimately cultivate a more positive attitude to healthy eating, healthy weight and lifestyle while forming positive habits that educate children into adulthood.