People often make the joke that teenagers will eat anything in sight. While teens do tend to have voracious appetites, problems with teen obesity may not actually be due to the consumption of too many calories. In fact, a study recently showed that obese teens actually eat fewer calories on average than teens of a healthy weight. This applied to sample groups of boys and girls.
This may be due to the fact that efforts at weight control for teens are often based on calorie reduction, when that is not necessarily enough to trigger real weight loss. It’s the combination of cutting calories and taking part in regular physical activity that is the most effective. In fact, exercise may be more important than diet in general.
Now, maintaining a healthy diet is important for all teens in order to ensure good health, but focusing on diet alone in overweight teens isn’t necessarily the answer. Many obese teens eat less than teens of average weight and still somehow remain overweight. This is extremely frustrating and just goes to show the focus has been misplaced.
The crux of the situation is this: children of a healthy weight tend to be more active than those that are obese. This fact alone may be what’s keeping overweight teens overweight. So you see, weight control relies on numerous factors, especially when applied to teens.
To help overweight teens lose weight, parents can do a number of things to get the ball rolling. First of all, prevention is a key. Providing healthy foods and plenty of activity for young children is essential for preventing obesity in adolescence. For teens that are already overweight, the focus should be placed on getting more physical activity each day. Encourage your child to take part in an extracurricular activity or a sport. Even physical activities like those found on the Wii Fit can be helpful in promoting movement and weight control.
Yes, a healthy diet should be provided as well and teens shouldn’t gorge themselves on fatty and high calorie foods. However, focusing on calorie restriction alone has shown to be ineffective at promoting weight loss in teens, so emphasizing exercise is the best way to go. Balance is key for a healthy lifestyle for anybody of any age, not just teenagers. But in this case, parents need to take a leading role here and encourage exercise first and foremost. This is the only way weight control can be an attainable goal.
About the author: Igor is a consultant for weight loss Tampa clinic and is a guest author writes on weight loss, weight management and alternative medicine topics.
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