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15-Aug-2017 21:31

And what a problem: with all that eating, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 68 percent of the nation is overweight or obese.

What's more, dieting is failure-prone, and the statistics are even worse when it comes to those who can keep the weight off.

This pressure can create a distorted body image, making them see themselves as fat when they are not fat, or they see themselves as fatter than they really are.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 40 percent of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls ages 15 to 19, and over half of teenage girls use unhealthy weight-control behaviors, such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, taking laxatives and vomiting.

About a quarter of adults—and an even greater percentage of women—report they are sedentary and engage in no physical activity during leisure time, and less than half exercise regularly.

And as women age, their tendency to be sedentary steadily increases.

On the flip side, some women are underweight, despite having tried to achieve or maintain a "normal" weight.

A Word About Teens Teenage girls today feel a lot of pressure from the media, friends and sometimes their own parents to be very slim.

If the diet doesn't provide enough calcium or vitamin D, bones may not lay down enough calcium, which may increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

The flip side to teenagers feeling pressured to be thin is that some may have legitimate concerns about their weight that adults dismiss.

Adolescent obesity can carry serious lifelong health consequences.

The best advice to teenage girls: Instead of dieting because everyone is doing it or because you are not as thin as you want to be, first find out from a health care professional or dietitian whether you carry too much body fat for your age and height.

If you need to lose weight, follow the sensible guidelines laid out here.