Row erupts over teen weight-loss trial

Children's hospital study puts 'teenagers through a gruelling and prolonged semi-starvation experiment', says eating disorders expert

An Australian weight-loss trial that asks teenagers to fast for a year is at the centre of a row between healthcare professionals, with an eating disorders psychologist claiming it’s akin to starving children.

The NHMRC-funded study is currently recruiting for 13-18-year-olds who have moderate to severe obesity to take part in the trial, which will investigate the effects of an extreme calorie-restricted diet, including shakes and one small meal a day.

After a month, the teenagers will be randomised into one of two groups and placed on either a low-calorie diet or alternate day fasting with a calorie intake of 600 to 700 calories on fasting days, according to the Fast Track to Health study’s website.

The trial's aim is to "determine if MADF [Modified Alternate Day Fasting] is effective, safe and acceptable to adolescents compared with a standard weight control diet”.

It will be