Say NO to Starving our teens: Stop The Fast Track Trial

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The "Fast Track To Health" study is about to kick off in Sydney & Melbourne. The research team have a $1.2 million grant from the NH&MRC, and these funds are being used to put teenagers through a gruelling and prolonged semi starvation experiment.

Teens aged 13-17 are facing a horrifying experience: for an entire month they will be allowed just 800 calories a day. After that, for an entire YEAR of their lives, the kids will be starved for 3 days of the week, allowed only 600-700 calories a day. I have blogged in detail about this study, check these out here and here.

This is less than the daily nutritional needs for a baby, let alone a growing teen!

Teenagers have a lot of growing to do, and they also need to go to school, to learn, to run around and play. These normal teenage activities are just not possible if you are STARVING.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence (Level A, the highest level of evidence we can achieve according to the NH&MRC) to show that in the long term, dieting doesn't work. On diets, people lose a little bit of weight initially, but then put it back on again. Over time, dieting is a risk factor for weight gain, not loss. All we are teaching kids by putting them on diets like this is how to endure a lifetime of weight cycling and misery.

Starving teenagers is much more likely to result in them developing deadly eating disorders rather than becoming thinner or healthier. There is overwhelming research evidence that points to dieting being the NUMBER ONE risk factor for developing an eating disorder. And the riskiest time for humans to diet is adolescence: the very age of the kids being targeted in this trial. Eating disorders have the HIGHEST MORTALITY RATE of any mental disorder. They are difficult to treat and ruin lives. The Australian government is investing more money into the treatment of eating disorders, as rates are exploding all over the country. Why would we spend research money creating future eating disorder problems?

There has already been a complaint sent to the Fast Track research team co-signed by 30 health professionals and organisations pleading for this research to stop, but this has been overruled! Apparently the team think that putting teens at risk of eating disorders is worth it for the perceived 'benefits' of temporary weight loss.

Please help to raise your voice in protest against this trial! There are many less harmful ways we can help our larger teens to look after their health and wellbeing. We are calling on the Minister for Health, our MP's and the CEO's of Sydney Childrens Hospital and Monash Childrens Hopspital to put a stop to this trial.