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Eating healthy and exercising is the safest way to get to a healthy weight, but if your teen wants to diet, you should be mindful of the following:

  1. Focusing on a healthy lifestyle, and not on weight, can help avoid an eating disorder, the third most common chronic condition in teens. While there are concerns that dieting can lead to an eating disorder, most teens who develop eating disorders were not obese.
  2. Teens who weigh 10 percent or more above their healthy weight can diet, after checking with their doctor. Statistics show that for every 20 youths who are obese as they reach adulthood, all but one will be overweight for the rest of their lives.
  3. Some teens may not understand “healthy eating” and may start skipping meals or using fad diets in an attempt to “be healthier.”
  4. Avoid low-calorie diets and choose a sensible diet plan to lose one to two pounds per week. Most teens can reach this goal without drastically modifying their diets. Fully grown teens need to trim only five hundred calories a day; boys and girls who are still in puberty can reduce their intake by 250 calories.
  5. Encourage your teen to exercise regularly.