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Prom Pressure: Extreme Diets
By Erika Edwards
(NBC News) Finding a date, finding a dress, finding a diet?
Prom season can be a magical time for teen girls, dreaming about dressing up and dancing the night away, but for some picturing themselves at prom leads to extreme exercise and dieting.
At Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami, Florida guidance counselors report an increase in students coming to their office with concerns about their appearance before big formal events.
"Sometimes they'll show me a picture of the dress and say 'I'm losing weight because I need to get into that dress'," says guidance counselor Lucy Blaco.
Dr. Mark Wulkan is the Chief of Surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
He also sees an influx of teens this time of year seeking surgery as a way to drop pounds.
He says for most kids the desire to look pretty for prom is an opportunity to teach healthy habits.
"We try not to focus as much on actual weight as we do health, but by being healthy one of the by-products is losing weight," Dr. Wulkan explains.
It's a message that doctors say needs to be reinforced at home, with parents serving as role models to their kids by eating well and getting moving.
Doctors say something easy teens can do to healthfully lose weight before prom is cut all sodas and sugar-sweetened drinks out of their diet.
Right now the average teen drinks 15 to 20 percent of their calories.