18 Jul How to Help Your Teen Avoid the Battle of the Bulge
One of the nicest things about the summer for most teenage is the summer vacation. Most teens look forward to being out of school and having some FUN!! Another common characteristic among most teens is the ability to EAT!!. I have two teenagers myself and am very aware of my grocery bill going up during the summer! Unfortunately, more teens are eating processed foods and exercising less. The reality is that our lack of physical activity and poor meal planning has led to an obesity epidemic among our teenage population.
In fact, in the 1980’s about 5% of all teens (aged 12-19) were considered Obese. Currently about 20% of all teens are considered obese. That does not seem like a lot but, this is an increase of almost 400% in the past 30 years! There is also a racial difference in the obesity rates. African – American and Hispanic teens have higher rates of obesity. The reason that this issue is so important is because obesity is the cause for some very significant health issues. Rates of diabetes and hypertension are increasing among younger individuals. This means that complications from these conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease will be more common in those people who develop chronic medical conditions related to obesity.
The following TIPS can help you COACH your TEEN in their weight loss journey.
- Limit consumption of high fructose corn syrup ( HFCS)
For most teens, they consume excess HFCS in the form of soft drinks and sugary drinks. Research suggests that these types of drinks may play a role in the development of obesity in young people. In fact, about two- thirds of children in the United States drink at least one soft drink EVERYDAY!! Just one soda everyday would add 1000 extra calories per week.
Of course, the best measure is to drink as much water as possible. In cases where your teen wants an alternative to water they may be willing to try Flavored Seltzer Water. There are several products on the market. Another option is to flavor your water with lemon, oranges or watermelon chunks.
- Encourage your child to eat breakfast regularly
A study published in Pediatrics tracked the dietary and weight patterns of a group of 2,216 adolescents over a five-year period.
The researchers found that teens who ate breakfast regularly had a lower percentage of total calories from saturated fat and ate more fiber and carbohydrates than those who skipped breakfast. In addition, regular breakfast eaters seemed more physically active than breakfast skippers. It is thought that eating breakfast regularly reduces the likelihood that a person will overeat later in the day.
- Encourage eating at home versus eating out
Eating at home is helpful because home cooked meals tend to be lower in calories. On average, a person who eats a meal at home will consume about 30% fewer calories. In addition, food prepared at home is healthier. We eat fewer calories when we cook at home. And when restaurant dishes and home cooked meals are compared on a per-calorie basis, home cooked meals are healthier.
- Don’t keep junk food in the house
- Unhealthy snacks tend to be higher in calories. In addition, when they are easily accessible people tend to eat larger portion sizes. Try to keep healthier snacks in your home such as fruits or snackable veggies. Another option would be to purchase snacks with lower calorie content. Popcorn is an excellent option as it tends to be lower in calories.
- Encourage your teen to be more physically active. Make it a family affair.
Many studies show that teens are more sedentary that ever before. This is primarily because a lot of the activities that young people participate in don’t require them to move. Encouraging your teen to do outdoor activities or participate in organized sporting activities can help shed those unwanted pounds.
Hopefully these tips will help you in fighting the battle of the bulge!! Remember our young people are worth the fight. Even if they don’t want to make the changes they need to.