There are many reasons an adolescent might want to lose weight.
Unfortunately, many of them come from a place of stigma or peer pressure rather than a genuine desire to improve one’s health for the sake of doing so.
Some adolescents may feel self-conscious about their bodies when changing in the locker room. Others may want to fulfill some idealized standard of beauty, or have a body like their favorite athlete. But for the majority, wanting to lose weight comes from a stigma they have felt either directly (in the form of being teased by their peers) or indirectly (such as through media).
The effects of this are well-documented:
This harassment does not just come from kids’ classmates and teammates. According topediatrician Stephen J. Pont, “Peers are not the only sources of weight stigma. Research documents [note] stigma by parents and other family members, teachers, health care professionals, and society at large, including the popular media.”
Because harsh words are often a factor in a child’s desire to lose weight, it is important for parents, teachers, and coaches to tread carefully when discussing weight loss with a young athlete.