What Will A National Teen Weight Loss Registry Teach Us?S

Sixteen-year-old Meagan Blanchette lost 60 pounds — and kept it off for two years. That's why she's among the first teens included in the Adolescent Weight Control Registry. That's right — a national registry, for teens who lose weight.

The Adolescent Weight Control Registry is a research project "which will compile data from those ages 14 to 20 who have lost at least 10 pounds and kept it off one year."

Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University and one of the founders of the registry, explains: "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. An important goal of this registry is to learn what role parents have played in helping these adolescents achieve their success."

Meagan's parents had a huge role in her weight loss; her mom drove her to Weight Watchers meetings and cooked healthy meals. But if you've ever seem how closely the U.S. obesity map resembles the U.S. poverty map, then you've got to consider that many parents cannot afford to rive their kids to Weight Watchers, and food choices are often what's cheap — not what's healthy. So will the registry teach us that teens who lose and keep weight off are teens with the means to do so?

Last week we heard about Amitai Etzioni, the sociologist who believes we should focus on kids and obesity, because "body mass like cement: It is rather easy to shape when it is new, but once it settles, it is very resistant to change." What would he think of these teens?

It remains to be seen what the registry reveals, in terms of keys to success. As for Meagan, she admits she feels peer pressure when it comes to food, but: "I haven't eaten a french fry in 2½ years."

Teen Who Lost Weight Included In New National Registry [USA Today]
Earlier: Dieting May Be A Dead End

[Image via Daria Filimonova/Shutterstock.]