Teenage obesity is one of the fastest growing teen health problems in America. Beyond the physical complications that accompany obesity, there are emotion and psychological effects that are far reaching into the core of a teenager’s self esteem.
The country is growing around the midsection at an alarming rate and about thirty percent of Americans understand the obesity struggle. The fact that we took the nation’s youth along for the ride is actually somewhat appalling. Coping with teenage obesity is a family problem, and it requires a family solution.
Overweight teens are three times more likely to experience depression. Often their weight problems began in childhood and by the time they reach their adolescence, they have developed numerous coping and defense mechanisms. They may not even seem interested in reducing their weight.
Consulting with a nutritionist is a very good first step. Understanding how the problem grew into where it is now is a vital step in reversing the situation. The entire family is going to have to make sacrifices. What goes on the dinner table goes into everyone’s mouth. You are preparing a family meal, aren’t you? You can’t expect your teenager to continue to feed herself her own food choices when relearning the eating process. Make the time for a family meal and at all costs refuse to resort to everyone being responsible for providing their own dinner arrangements.
Replace the junk food in the house with healthier snacks. It can’t be in the house and not go into your overweight teenager’s mouth. If it is not readily available, she is less likely to eat it. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard. There are ample delicious foods out there that contain fewer calories, lower fats, and still taste like a yummy treat.
Teenage obesity is in fact an eating disorder. Just like you would seek out help for an anorexic child, you need to recognize that this is just as serious. While your child probably developed bad habits in their childhood, but as time passed and ridicule began, food became a source of comfort. It is no longer just about sitting in front of a video game or the television and snacking. The problem is now a deeply rooted issue that needs attention just as desperately as anorexic or bulimic teenagers.
Encouraging your child every step of the way will make a dig difference. Celebrate the five pound marks, or even the one pound losses, and join your teenager during scheduled exercise time. Check out the example you are setting for your child. Is she coming home only to find you lounging out on the couch crunching on popcorn and watching television, or can she count on you to get up and go for a walk with her every day?
The is bound to fail from time to time. She will have weak moments where she will cheat. Shaming her into feeling as though she ruined every ounce of progress she has made is counter productive. Nobody is perfect and the important thing is she gets herself refocused and back on the program.
Over nine million teenagers in the United State are significantly overweight enough to be considered obese. She is not alone and she needs to know that she is not the only one out there struggling every day with the war that goes on inside her head. She wants to eat it, but it is bad for her, but who cares anyway because it’s not like she has a whole mess of friends to lose……
This self talk is destructive. It leads to failed attempts and damaged self esteems and an overall sense of failure in everything. Help her get connected with other teenagers who are slowly but successfully losing their excess.
Teenage obesity dramatically shortens life expectancy. It leads to depression, diabetes, long term health problems, and early death. Make sure she understands the benefits of losing the weight without focusing on the social aspects of body weight. Our society puts too much pressure on kids to be perfect creatures of stellar appearance. She is not (and should not) being encouraged to lose weight so that she can fit in better and have more friends and stop being the butt of jokes. She is being encouraged to lose the weight in order to gain a much healthier lifestyle and live a longer and healthier life.