Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents: What Can Health Care Providers Do?

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This article describes five research-based recommendations for health care providers to help prevent both obesity and eating disorders among adolescents that they see within clinical, school, or other settings. The recommendations are based primarily upon findings from Project EAT, a large, population-based study of eating and weight-related issues in adolescents. Recommendations include the following: 1) discourage unhealthy dieting; instead encourage and support the use of eating and physical activity behaviors that can be maintained on an ongoing basis; 2) promote a positive body image; 3) encourage more frequent, and more enjoyable, family meals; 4) Encourage families to talk less about weight and do more at home to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity; and 5) assume that overweight teens have experienced weight mistreatment and address this issue with teens and their families. These recommendations stress the importance of helping adolescents and their families focus less on weight and more on sustained behavioral change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Eating disorders
  • Obesity
  • Prevention


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