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Healthy weight for young people

Young people are becoming more independent and as they get older are often trying to juggle school work with a part-time job and spending time with friends. Some young people spend a lot of time watching TV, playing computer games and on their mobile phones, which can get in the way of being physically active. 

Some young people also skip breakfast and as they often have more spending money, look for fast food and soft drinks on the way to school or after school or even at lunch time. These habits can contribute to putting on too much weight as well as compromising health at this stage of life when good health is important to concentrating and learning well at school as well as reaching their full physical potential.

If you are overweight

If you are overweight, the best way to lose weight is to focus on making small changes to both what you eat and the amount of activity you do - and maintaining those changes. 

Some young people are tempted to go for fad diets, wanting a quick fix. However fad diets are not recommended as they often cut out key foods, leading to dehydration, weakness, tiredness, headaches, and constipation. Fad diets often promise a quick fix, promote ‘magic’ foods or combinations of foods, have strict rules focusing on weight loss and severely restrict food groups or nutrients.

Body image

Body image is a word we are hearing more often and it refers to the mental picture we have about the way we think we look. 

A positive body image means feeling comfortable about how we look and a negative body image is when we feel uncomfortable about how we look. Everyone is different - we all have different body shapes and types - and it’s impossible for us all to look like supermodels. 

Some people including those who are not overweight decide to go on a diet because they have a poor body image. It’s best to focus on eating a healthy diet and regular exercise and look at other areas you might be able to change to feel better about yourself.

Importance of maintaining a healthy weight

While it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, constant dieting can have negative health consequences, especially if your weight goes up and down after dieting. 

The ‘weight loss, weight gain’ seesaw can put you at risk of heart disease and other health problems and compromise your enjoyment of life.  

Again, it’s best to make small changes gradually to improve your diet and have more physical activity. One area of diet that can make a real difference is looking at what you drink. Sticking to water most of the time can save a lot of kilojoules. Alcoholic drinks too are full of kilojoules.

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