Last updated on Jun 18th, 2020 at 06:22 am
Teenage obesity is a dangerous and widespread problem. Start encouraging your teen to adopt healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
Have a heart-to-heart
If your teen is overweight, he or she is probably just as concerned about the excess weight as you are. Aside from lifelong health risks such as high blood pressure and diabetes, the social and emotional fallout of being overweight can be devastating for a teenager. It can also be frustrating to attempt weight loss and have poor results. Offer support and gentle understanding and a willingness to help your teen manage the problem.
Dispute unrealistic images
Weight and body image can be delicate issues, especially for teenage girls. When it comes to teen weight loss, remind your teen that there’s no single ideal weight and no perfect body. The right weight for one person might not be the right weight for another.
Resist quick fixes
Help your teen understand that losing weight and keeping it off is a lifetime commitment. Fad diets can rob your growing teen of iron, calcium and other essential nutrients. Weight-loss pills and other quick fixes don’t address the root of the problem and could pose risks of their own.
Teens need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day but that doesn’t necessarily mean 60 solid minutes at a stretch. Shorter, repeated bursts of activity during the day can help burn calories, too. Even household chores that require physical movement can help your teen burn calories.
A nutritious breakfast will give your teen energy to face the day ahead. Even better, it might keep your teen from eating too much later in the day.
Encourage smart snacking
Encourage your teen to replace even one bag of chips or order of fries a day with a healthier grab-and-go option from home:
Oranges, strawberries or other fresh fruit
Watch portion sizes
When it comes to portions, size matters. Encourage your teen to scale back, eat slowly, and stop eating when he or she is full, both at home and away from home.
Count liquid calories
The calories in fruit juice, sports drinks and speciality coffees can add up quickly. Drinking water instead of cooldrinks and other sugary drinks might spare your teen hundreds of calories a day or even more.
Make it a family affair
Rather than singling out your teen, adopt healthier habits as a family. After all, eating healthier foods and getting more exercise is good for everyone – and research suggests that family involvement has a significant effect on childhood weight management. For example: Stock up on fruits, veggies and whole grains. Keep these foods in plain sight, and be sure to set a good example yourself.
Being overweight doesn’t inevitably lead to a lifetime of low self-esteem. Still, your acceptance is critical. Listen to your teen’s concerns. Comment on his or her efforts, skills and accomplishments. Make it clear that your love is unconditional – not dependent on weight loss.
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.