Weight loss for teens is about helping teenagers lose the extra weight and protect their psychological and physical health from the harmful effects of obesity.
In most cases those who are responsible for a teenagers weight are not the teens themselves but their parents. The parents need to be aware on what causes obesity and also how to protect their children from gaining extra weight and in the case their children are already obese what to do to help them and guide them in the weight loss process.
What causes obesity in teens and why weight loss is important?
During childhood the need for nutrients is increased, as the body of the children is growing very rapidly. The sharp growth in teens causes a natural but intense mood for greater food consumption. This strong disposition to food should not be treated as an opportunity for the teenager to eat what they want and as much as they want, using the excuse that they are in the ‘development phase’. Instead, they should offer the teenager all the nutrients they need, avoiding to give too much food.
It is true that by eating the particularly rich sauces and fatty meals, will result in an obese teenager. Obesity is a medical condition associated with diseases of the heart, vascular, kidney, arthritis, diabetes etc. Moreover, it influences the mental world of teens: increasing the number of teens affected by syndromes of isolation, since their mental state and appearance restricts their contact with the environment. Such cases require, apart from nutritional care, also psychological. As a parent there are a number of ways to help your children. This article outlines tips for weight loss for teens.
Weight loss for teens – The importance of each meal
It is important to provide psychological help to teens who consider their body silhouette a very important element in evaluating themselves. They worry constantly that they will gain weight, although they weight less that the ‘ideal’ weight, and as a result they take only a few calories per day and have anorexia.
Each meal its important for teens
Apart from taking the appropriate amount of food an important role in the proper nutrition of a teenager plays the careful organization of normal and intermediate meals at school or at home.
The breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In the early morning hours, the body of the teenager, having regrouped its forces from the night sleep, it is back to normal activity levels, and as a result there is an increase demand for energy.
Therefore, if it takes the appropriate quantity of food, the teenager can have an increased perception and ability to assimilate the knowledge provided during the school day.
Otherwise, his body will meet his needs by using organic stock, and as a result the teenager will not be able to concentrate and will have a bad mood through out the day.
Of course, we must not get to the other extreme, namely to create a teenager with a ‘full stomach’ feeling sleepiness during the day. The quantity of breakfast depends mainly on the body characteristics and activity of the teenager. For breakfast we recommend natural fruit juice, egg, honey and bread in any form.
As an intermediate breakfast meal the teenager may consume a fresh fruit. You should avoid the consumption of sweets and generally high fat foods.
The lunch, which is the largest meal of the day, should be controlled, as there are no large margins for good digestion and absorption by the teenager before to start other activities (schools, reading). It is recommended to have a time interval, even a half-hour period, so as to give time to the organism to physically calm. Foods that make up teen lunch should contain all the essential nutrients. If the lunch is not carefully controlled then the teenager may consume far more calories than the body needs and soon enough we need help for weight loss.
The mid afternoon snack may be milk, fruit or yogurt or even a cake or ice cream (not on a daily basis), so that the body of the teenager can retain safe quantities of glucose in the blood until the time of dinner. To better control the weight loss process for your child you must make sure that you follow the above rules. If you manage to control lunch but you let your child consume any food in the afternoon then it is very likely that it will gain unnecessary weight.
The evening meal can be large and complex. But it should be composed of simple and easy to digest food and should not be taken just before sleep, in order to allow time for digestion. During sleep the digestive, muscular and the nervous system of the teenager should be relaxed and redefined to be ready for the demands of the next day.
Make sure your child eats enough fruits and vegetables. The completeness in vitamins and nutrients will contribute to a healthy body and a healthy teenager.
One of the most difficult problems facing the pediatricians is the teenage obesity. Unfortunately, the frequency seems to be increasing and this increases the risk in adulthood. Obesity today has taken enormous dimensions and for the advanced countries it is a serious public health problem. But where is the root of evil.
The English poet William Wordworth said, “The child is the father of man.” Perhaps then the explanation for obesity is found in childhood. In the U.S. it is estimated that one in four teenagers is overweight! First of all, we must give a correct definition of teenage obesity. An adult has a fixed height and with time the only thing that can change is its weight. Depending on the height of a person it corresponds an ideal weight. If the weight is greater than the value of the highest deviation then the person is considered overweight.
The child from birth until the age of 19 to 20 years shows an increase in weight and height. If these two levels increase in harmony, the body has the right proportions. If weight gain is faster than the increase in height, the child is overweight. Several studies carried out in thousands of children have set what is the normal weight and height value for each age group.
Unfortunately, obesity is inherited. In other words, it is observed that when both parents are obese, in 80% of the cases, the children will also be obese. When only one parent is obese, the child is obese and this is around 40% of cases. In contrast, when both parents have normal weight, the fat kid is only 7% of cases. Despite extensive investigations it is not yet known what proportion is attributable to heredity and lifestyle. This is because the parents give their children not only their genes, but also raise them by their own habits.
Obese teenagers are, compared with other teens, less active; they spend much more time watching television and play with computers more often. Also, they eat more fat and fewer carbohydrates, less or no breakfast, and instead enjoy a more rich dinner. Food is a decisive factor in shaping the body. The fat cells are the body’s cells that are specialized to store fat.
Their size increased until the age of six and especially in the first year of life while-from seven to twenty years they are increasing in number. If children suffer from obesity in the first years of their life, this is called hypertrophy and may be transient, and if they suffer after the age of six, is called ‘super plastic’ and it can be permanent, if no actions are taken for weight loss. Some studies have shown that the two critical periods of increased fat are the first six years and adolescence.
The third question that is emerging is whether or not there is correlation of childhood obesity to obesity in adults. It is observed that about half of the children who are overweight at the age of one they continue to be overweight and after the age of 21. Rather, children who do not have a problem with their weight, only 20% will be obese in their 21. But more studies are needed to monitor this relation and to clarify if childhood obesity continues in adulthood.
In contrast, the direct effects of obesity in teens are known:
1. Obese children are usually higher than the rest.
2. In obese girls the menstruation starts earlier.
3. Boys and girls have enormous social and family problems because of their weight, which creates feelings of inferiority and psychological instability.
As with most diseases, it is better to act before they happen and provide ways to prevent them. Currently the only weapon against teen obesity is weight loss through diet and regular exercise.
How to prevent obesity
According to measurements by the World Health Organization (WHO), the last 15 years the number of teens classified as obese has doubled!
The teenagers should be sensitized on the issue and have the necessary motivation and willingness to address the problem.
The role of parents is of paramount importance. The parents should educate their children properly in the areas of weight loss, proper diet and exercise. Must evaluate the other positive aspects of the character and competence of their children and not to concentrate only on the problem of obesity. They should give them credit for other achievements, giving them the necessary supplies to build their own self-confidence and self esteem to strengthen their personality and help them to succeed in their weight loss efforts.
Some tips to help teenagers and children stay at their normal weight levels are:
1. Regularly monitoring the weight and taking actions for weight loss immediately.
2. Meals should be carefully selected, avoiding foods with fats and especially junk or fast food.
3. Doing more physical exercise, especially more walking.
4. Children should not eat in front of the TV or the computer and when possible, the whole family to eat together
5. Reduce the number and type of snacks between meals
6. Do not use food as a reward for something
7. Children should learn to eat slowly and not to accompany their meal with refreshments
There is no doubt that obesity is a serious problem that tends to take epidemic proportions worldwide. Children and especially teens are particularly vulnerable to this problem and the effects may last throughout their lives. The reasons are complex and the treatment is not easy. Recognizing the problem of obesity in teens should be made early and treatment should be continued on a long-term basis.
Weight loss for teens is a responsibility of the parents. The parents should help their children bypass the problem of excessive weight. Remember: The benefits of a successful weight loss will accompany your children throughout their life’s.