• Tue, Nov 16 2010

Do We Need A National Teen Weight Loss Registry?

Well, we’re getting one. The Adolescent Weight Control Registry is collecting data from people ages 14-20 who have lost weight and kept it off for at least 1 year.

The first person to be included is Meagan Blanchette. The 16 year old lost 60 pounds and kept it off for two years.

Which is fantastic for her – but why do we need a national registry?

“Parents constantly come up to me and say, ‘My teenager is overweight,’ and ask for my advice. It would be nice to have data with which to answer them,” says Rena Wing, one of the founders of the new registry and a professor of psychiatry at Brown University. “An important goal of this registry is to learn what role parents have played in helping these adolescents achieve their success.”

And it certainly sounds like parents play a very important role. Megan remarks that:

They buy and cook healthful foods, even if those foods are more expensive, and they drive her to dance classes and the gym, she says. “My mom drove me to all those Weight Watchers meetings at 8 a.m. on Saturdays.”

Now, not all parents have the ability to go out and buy healthful foods that are more expensive, or to make sure that someone goes to Weight Watchers meetings at 8 am on a Saturday morning. Still, I suppose it helps to have information on file. Do you think people you know will benefit from a National Teen Weight Loss Registry?

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  • lotusflwr

    It’s a good idea, but if the data winds up anything like the data for adults, it will be depressing. Well over 90% of people cannot lose a significant amount of weight and expect to keep it off without surgical intervention.

    Data collection for teens will be vital if we are ever going to be able to determine what to do about the growing obesity epidemic, especially among children and teens. The fatter you get while young, the worse off your prognosis for the rest of your life.

    As someone who was fat my entire life and who ballooned as a teenager and young adult and finally underwent weight-loss surgery, I’ve definitely given some thought to the growing interest & controversy of bariatric surgery for teens. I think a registry like this definitely is a necessary step in collecting information about what measures are appropriate for individuals, families and health professionals in dealing with obesity in kids.

  • nerdypaws

    This is rather strange to see considering I would think it does more to jar at teenaged body issues than help them. Also, when I was in High School, the big body disorder was bulemia and if you were thought to lose any more than five pounds for any reason, you were considered bulemic and and suggested to go to therapy. Is there any way to know that this database will target the right audience, that is to say researchers and at-risk teens looking for alternatives than turning this into some kind of South Beach for Tweens promotion center?