There are millions of kids who are overweight. It is hard enough for adults to stick to a weight loss program where a healthy diet and regular exercise are emphasized. Trying to help a teen develop that self-discipline presents additional challenges. Teen are surrounded by exposure to junk foods and processed meals at school. They are faced with pressure from classes and from their peers every day that takes a toll on them psychologically and emotionally. Many kids cope with that by seeking comfort in the foods that that they like to eat, and most of the time it is junk food. On the issue of teenage weight loss, one thing for sure is that teens cannot do this alone. The parents must get involved at multiple levels.
First, the parents must discuss the weight issue with the child’s doctor. The doctor can rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the weight gain, such as hypothyroidism. If the child is given a clean bill of health except for the excessive weight, then a meal plan and exercise program can be discussed.
It is important to point out that the child’s environment has a big impact on his choices. If the parents keep a lot of junk food around the house, the child will help himself to it when he is hungry. If the parents are overweight and do not exercise regularly, the child will be less likely to stick to an exercise program. Therefore, the parents have a huge responsibility in becoming good role models by eating healthy foods and engaging in regular physical activities. When the environment is supportive, the teen will have a better chance in achieving weight loss.
Teens are in school for the most part of the day. Since most schools still do not offer healthy choices in the cafeteria, it is the parents’ job to provide their child with healthy foods that he can take to school. A homemade salad kit with plenty of leafy greens and a light vinegrette can be one option. A low-fat turkey wrap made from white meat, lettuce, tomato, and a bit of avocado is another delicious alternative. Flavored water instead of a soda should be provided. Low-fat snacks like unbuttered popcorn and pretzels are better choices than chips. There are plenty of kid-friendly, healthy lunch ideas in recipe books and websites that parents can explore.
Teenage weight loss must incorporate a good level of physical activity. Time in front of the television should be reduced. The family should engage in physical activity together , such as going out for a bike ride together. If the teen will only respond positively to video games, get a game that requires the body to move in order to manipulate the action on the screen.
Teenage weight loss is not an easy thing to achieve, but with the right support it can be done. If teens are taught about proper nutrition and are guided in making their own healthy choices at a young age, they will carry these lifestyle habits with them as they mature into adulthood. Then future generations can be healthier and will not be plagued by the problem of obesity.