Girls often become much less physically active during their teen years, but that’s just when they should move into high gear if they want to control their weight, a new study reveals.
Scientists at Harvard Medical School in Boston analyzed national data on 3,914 females, ages 14 to 22. Information on the young women was gathered in 2001-2000 and again in 2003 and 2005.
Some of the younger girls were gaining weight because they were still growing and maturing. However, most of the older girls had reached their full maturity and their weight gain was more likely to be unhealthy.
In 2001, about 54% of the young women wanted to lose weight, and 24% were trying to maintain their weight. About half said they had been on a diet over the past year.
About half reported exercising at least once a week, and 14% said they exercised five or more times a week.
The length of time and intensity of the activity varied dramatically, including doing short bouts of toning exercises, playing soccer, dancing, jogging.
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