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Risky youth health trends on the rise

While the rate of childhood obesity is decreasing in most states across the country, doctors are noticing a similarly risky health trend among youth: anorexia. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester, it's difficult to diagnose because many of the children who are suffering were previously obese.

"Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss - it must be about the pursuit of health," David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center told Health magazine. "An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity."

Parents of obese kids should encourage healthy weight loss, such as joining sports teams. Regular exercise and consumption of fresh produce will help children and teens shed pounds naturally, while teammates can provide support and encouragement.

Keeping kids and teens healthy will also make them more successful in the classroom. Parents should motivate youth to keep up with good habits in and outside of school.

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