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Losing weight
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BrittanyNLane posted:
Hello, I am 17 and I have been trying to desperately lose weight for years. I have exercised and went on diets. Are there any pills or surgeries that can help me?
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Chris Tiongson, MD responded:
Brittany,

You've already taken the first and most difficult step, making the decision to improve your health! It is never easy to make changes and it can be very frustrating when the results don't seem to match the effort.

The next step, which you may have already taken, is to see your doctor for a checkup. That will give you and your doctor a starting point and a better idea of where you are at. A check up can also help your doctor see if there are some complicating health conditions that are making it hard for you to meet your goals.

Calculating your BMI and finding out the percentile or ranking, helps determine the level of increased risk of health problems, and thus helps determine how intense your personalized plan should be.

After trying the usual things (like healthier eating, increasing physical activity, cutting down sugary drinks, decreasing TV/computer/screen time) then there are other ways to ramp up.

Maybe things would be easier with a group of other kids? Sometimes a program over 10 weeks or so that includes some brief classes about cooking healthier, strategies for increasing physical activity in day-to-day activities, exploring what the barriers might be that are making it hard to change. Also, setting up a specific plan for healthy eating with a nutritionist or exercise specialist can give you a specific roadmap to follow. Sometimes it is hard to meet a less defined goal of "eating better" or "exercising more."

There are different options for kids at top of the charts, percentiles in the 99% range. There are a few very specialized centers around the country that do consider medication or surgery for some kids. It is not a first option and usually most other options have been tried before that point. I don't know if that is a good fit for you or not.

In the meantime, are there tips that other teens or parents would like to share with Brittany? Maybe a strategy that seemed to work well for your family?


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