Female Adolescent Weight Gain

by Tashun Chism

A newly released study says girls are at the highest risk of becoming overweight between the ages of 9 and 12. Researchers call girls who fall into this cateogory "tweens," and blame several factors for their weight gain.

"I attribute weight gain, in general, to distorted portion sizes. Everyone wants to blame McDonald's, but everywhere you go, there's supersizing," said Memorial Hospital Dietitian Ethel Ballenger.

Experts say one way to help your children get in shape is to allow them to play outdoors and get plenty of physical activity.

"I see girls being less physically active than maybe boys, because boys are encouraged to do more in the sports line a lot of times than girls. So, it may be more related to less physical activity in addition to increased portion sizes," added Ballenger.

Experts know poor diet and lack of excercise increase the chance that adolescent girls will become obese adults. This combination can also put them at risk for serious health problems. One of the major health risks that obesity is contributing to is diabetes. There is an increased number of adolsecents who are now developing type II diabetes.

Research shows the pre-teen years are when many children switch from taking their parents' dietary advice to eating more like their friends. Parents can help by setting positive examples for their kids to follow.