Children who suffer from childhood obesity and subsequent teen obesity often have many embarrassing memories. They can recall even the smallest details of slights and mortifying moments such as the school nurse loudly proclaiming their weight in front of the entire class.
Unless they experience a significant weight loss, these youngsters face the possibility of many health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure, according to LiveScience. This site discusses the results of a recent study of teen obesity.
Researchers in this study examined the medical records of 111 overweight teens whose body mass index (BMI) was above that of 85 percent of the general population. They found that the children started to gain weight in infancy. Ninety percent of them were overweight before they turned five.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that in the last 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled. The rate among children between 6 and 11 years old skyrocketed from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. Among adolescents, it jumped from 5.0 to 18.1 percent.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the key to conquering the dangerous problem of teenage obesity is removing bad habits and replacing them with healthy ones. Here are some tips for accomplishing this.
Involve the Whole Family
In order to develop healthier eating and exercise behavior, it’s important to adopt better habits as a family rather than singling out an obese teen. All family members should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. Parents must keep healthy food in places where it’s easily visible and set an example of healthy eating.
Junk food should stay at the supermarket. All family members should be encouraged to try new foods, recipes or healthier versions of favorites.
Keep an Eye on Portion Sizes
Size matters when trying to reverse weight gain. Parents should encourage overweight teenagers to think about what they’re eating. They need to learn to scale back and to recognize when they’re full and need to stop eating. Sharing a meal or ordering a la carte in a restaurant can result in smaller portions.
Practice Smart Smacking
It’s important to encourage kids to bypass the snack vending machines at school and to bring something healthier from home. There are lots of healthy choices: frozen grapes, oranges, strawberries, peppers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, low-fat yogurt or pudding, pretzels, graham crackers and string cheese.
Make Breakfast a Priority
Most teens battle hectic schedules. All family members need to get up early enough for a healthy breakfast because it jumpstarts metabolism. It also helps put a damper on appetite before lunch.
Teenagers who dislike high-fiber cereal or whole-wheat toast can pick healthy substitutes. Among their choices are leftovers, string cheese, fruit and a small handful of nuts.
Encourage Physical Activity
Many obese children and teenagers loathe physical education classes because of embarrassing experiences. The goal is 60 minutes of physical activity a day. However, it doesn’t have to happen as one event.
For kids hesitant to participate in team sports, walking, biking, swimming and inline skating are great alternatives. So is shooting hoops with other family members.
Discuss Responsibility Gently
Parents should have heart-to-heart talks with their obese teenagers to show their concern about weight loss. It’s important to offer support and gentle understanding while also helping the teen realize that changing the number on the scale is actually up to him or her.
Since teens who were also obese as children often suffer from low self-esteem, it’s essential to listen closely to what they have to say. Parents should be positive and stress their unconditional love, making sure to explain that it isn’t linked to weight loss.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site
Mayo Clinic site