Thursday, April 24, 2008

Book review: Safe Dieting for Teens, 2nd ed.

Safe Dieting for Teens, second edition, by Linda Ojeda, PhD

Better than most of the genre, this well-rounded, conversational book will at the very least have teens thinking about their food choices. Fairly accurate information is presented on diet choices, the importance of exercise, diet balance, and fast food choices. Missing are more complete nutritional advice (beyond recommendations to get a general number of servings of food and vegetables a day), specific portion recommendations, and any discussion of how the body digests nutrients and stores energy. Inaccuracies and inconsistencies include the author's misunderstanding of the difference between nutrisweet and sucralose, and a switch in language from telling readers that there are no bad foods to a "Restaurant Food Guide" which lists foods "usually not okay (a better choice might have been "eat in moderation" or "higher in calories per portion").

Still, overall, the messages that getting up and moving is a big part of the weight loss battle, that moderation and mindfulness are the keys to success, and that self-esteem and looks are separate concepts make this a winner for teenagers concerned about overweight.

Sadly, in this genre a book can be considered good if it simply offers no harmful advice. Here is a volume several steps above that, and worth reading. This book, with positive advice and a far-reaching outlook, can help many young people if they read it, carefully consider the contents and ideas, and put the suggestions into place in their lives.

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