At puberty, teenagers experience a growth spurt, weight gain and significant changes in body shape. This can cause some teenagers to become very concerned about their appearance. Appetites will increase during growth spurts and insulin requirements will vary in response to hormonal changes.
BGLs can be difficult to control and it’s important to seek regular and appropriate advice regarding changes to diet and insulin regimens.
Preoccupation with weight most often occurs in girls but may be present in boys. Dieting behaviours are common and in some cases eating Disorders can be the result.
Fad diets can be harmful due to their variable carbohydrate and poor nutrient content. Diet pills are sometimes seen as a quick solution but have side effects and are not recommended. Encouraging teenage girls in particular to remain active in high school can help improve body image and assist with maintaining a healthy weight.
Advice from a dietitian can also assist to identify and manage weight problems.
Warning signs of an eating disorder include:
- Preoccupation with food.
- Converting to vegetarianism.
- Skipping insulin injections.
- Extreme weight loss.
- Wearing multiple layers of clothing (to cover what is perceived as fat).
- Trips to the bathroom after meals or snacks.
- Food restriction followed by binge eating.
If you are concerned your teenager is at risk of an eating disorder, seek the advice of your diabetes team.