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Promotion of Healthy Weight-Control Practices in Young Athletes

Carl, R. L.; Johnson, M. D.; Martin, T. J.

Pediatrics. 2017 Aug 23; 140(3)


Children and adolescents may participate in sports that favor a particular body type. Some sports, such as gymnastics, dance, and distance running, emphasize a slim or lean physique for aesthetic or performance reasons. Participants in weight-class sports, such as wrestling and martial arts, may attempt weight loss so they can compete at a lower weight class. Other sports, such as football and bodybuilding, highlight a muscular physique; young athletes engaged in these sports may desire to gain weight and muscle mass. This clinical report describes unhealthy methods of weight loss and gain as well as policies and approaches used to curb these practices. The report also reviews healthy strategies for weight loss and weight gain and provides recommendations for pediatricians on how to promote healthy weight control in young athletes.

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