Recent study has reported that overweight or obese teens decided to lose weight and be healthy rather due to peer pressure.
The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, media and entertainment industries.
Chad Jensen, a psychologist at Brigham Young University and his students at BYU looked in-depth at the success stories of 40 formerly obese or overweight teens. On an average the participants shed 30 pounds, moving them from the obese to the normal weight category. They also maintained their healthier weight for a full year.
The findings suggest that teens have motivations that are more innate. More than 60 percent described their health as the primary motive. About 43 percent identified peer acceptance as a factor.
Most parents have the view that their teen is largely influenced by other people's perceptions of them," said Jensen.
The interference of the study was that, parents should help to focus their teen on healthy behaviors for the sake of being healthy more than for social acceptance.
Nearly all of the teens emphasized that it was their decision to lose weight. The teens acknowledged their parents for providing the most help simply by modeling healthy behaviors and providing healthier options for meals and snacks.
"There were some periods, like a transition to high school or to college, where we saw groups of teens who lost weight in those important periods. It's sort of an opportunity to re-make yourself. There's a lot of change going on, so some teens decide to make a change to be healthier, "Jensen said.
"None of these teens in our study lost weight in a hurry," Jensen said. "Their advice to other teens is to stay the course and sustain it over the long term. For most of them it was just a pound or two a week."