Most healthcare professionals agree that it is easier to prevent obesity rather than to treat it. It’s important for you to educate yourself about the weight control problem your teenager faces.
Obesity results from an imbalance between the amount of food we eat, and amount of energy we expend (exercise and physical activity).Â It causes numerous other problems for youngsters. In fact, obesity is the leading cause of hypertension, Type II diabetes, heart disease, joint stress, and self-esteem issues amongst teens.
There are many factors that can cause teenage obesity;
1. Studies have shown clearly that obesity is more common in teens whose parents are over weight. Mind you, not all overweight infants become obese children, teenagers or adults. It appears that the cause of obesity passed from parents to children may be a combination of genetic factors, plus the poor eating and exercise habits kids learn from their parents.
2. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of today’s teenagers are spending too much time in front of computers, playing video games, and watching television. The average teen will spend several hours each day instead of playing outside or exercising. Alarmingly, only about one-third of elementary school children partake in a daily physical activity. And less than one-fifth play sports or other extracurricular activities.
3. Recently, heredity has been found to play a role in childhood obesity as well.
When we consider the ways that we as parents can help our teenage children manage obesity, the main focus is to put an end to further weight gain. In most cases, you will find that you are better off avoiding excessive emphasis on weight loss as the primary goal of a teen weight loss program. There have been too many cases where restricting food intake to an extreme degree, or labeling certain foods as bad, has caused eating disorders and low self-esteem.
Diet management needs to be a combination of behavior modification, physical activity, and nutrition education.
Behavior strategies that have been found to work well for teenagers include
- keeping a food intake journal
- taking more time to eat meals
- offering rewards for tasks that have been accomplished
The best way to help your kids lose weight is to motivate them to start a regular exercise or physical activity program. When your teen becomes more physically active, they will burn more fat at a greater rate, and gradually lose excess weight without making unrealistic changes to eating patterns. Healthy physical activity will also help to suppress excessive appetite and over-eating.
From healthy eating, to knowing how to recognize problem signals, parental concern and awareness plays a major role in managing childhood and teen obesity.