Teens who go on diets to drop some pounds are more likely to skip breakfast and binge eat -- which may at least partly explain why they put on more weight over time than their peers who don't diet, a new study shows.
The researchers set out to uncover the reasons why dieting by adolescents has been shown in previous studies to predict later weight gain.
The behaviors they identified, however, don't entirely answer the question, Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, the study's lead author, told Reuters.
It's possible, she explained, that people who are at greater risk of becoming overweight are also more likely to be dieters, although their initial weight was taken into account in the study's analysis.
Nevertheless, the findings show that dieting is a short-term fix that teens choose instead of longer-term, healthier -- and more effective -- strategies such as eating more fruits and vegetables and getting more exercise, Neumark-Sztainer said.
"We really want to discourage teenagers from dieting," she added, noting that she and her colleagues previously found most teen dieters used unhealthy weight control strategies including smoking, fasting, and skipping meals.