Teenagers And Obesity

We are in the midst of a serious problem with teenagers and obesity in America and globally. Over the past 20 plus years teenage obesity has escalated and it is time that we as parents and society do something to help them. The effects of teenage obesity can mean more than dealing with a lifetime of health related problems because it is also a psychological problem that has been brought on by the obesity issue. Depression, isolation and lack of socialization all pay a toll on the obesity problem. Teenagers who are obese want help and need help.

The teen years are supposed to be about socialization, independence, and personal development. Unfortunately with teenagers and obesity they are deprived of some of these because their obesity gets in the way. Whether it is due to health reasons or isolation they are unable to be typical teenagers. It has been well documented that obesity does have a tendency to be hereditary. Some teens naturally tend to gain weight more easily than others which is mostly due to their slower metabolism. Which is why it is critical to identify what the real cause of the obesity is so they can get the help that they need.

The first order of business would be to take them to the family doctor to look for glandular and physical problems that may exist. Typically the doctor will ask the parents about their own lifestyles and eating habits. Teenagers and obesity is a family affair and this may require taking a look in the mirror and reassessing the whole family. The best way to help your teen will be with family participation. In other words, it isn't fair to your obese teen if you are eating chips and drinking soda when that is forbidden foods. Things to look for when you are re-evaluating the family lifestyles.

  • Does the family get exercise on a regular (daily) basis?

  • How often do you go to fast food restaurants?

  • Are there other weight issues in the family?

  • Are there other family stresses?

  • Do you eat meals as a family and where do you eat your meals?

  • How much television do you watch daily?

After you have evaluated the entire family, as painful as it may have been, it is time to go into action. The action plan for teenagers and obesity should start with trying to find fun ways for them to get more exercise. We can't stress this enough - exercise has to be a daily activity. Go for a walk, take them to the park for a game of catch or Frisbee, whatever works and is fun. You can even entice them with a reward of weekly bowling if they follow your rules.

The next step is to assess and change their eating habits. Provide healthier choices when you shop and keep plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Since teenagers are away from the home often it is difficult to control what they eat away from home. This is where the honor system comes in to play. Lovingly remind them how concerned you are about their weight and praise them often on their accomplishments.

There is a solution for teenagers and obesity and these are the most important steps to make at achieving their goal. When the discussion of food and their obese condition comes in to play be cautious about what you say and how you say it. Many times harping on the food issue will have a reverse effect because this is a sensitive issue with them.

Keep an open dialog with your teen on the action plan and be open for suggestions. The more input that they offer the better. They may have an idea that will be more fun and as long as it is producing results the better it is for them. Losing weight should not come as a chore. If your teen is having fun, losing weight, and learning to make lifestyle changes they will carry these into adulthood.

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