Obesity is one of the plagues that is bedeviling our modern-day society. And what makes this menace more dangerous is that it has not only affected the adult but has crawled its way to our future generation – the teenagers. According to the World Health Organization (2012), the last three decades have seen a substantial increase in the number of overweight people, with an estimated 170 million of them under the age of 18. The prevalence is higher in developed countries, and lower in developing and underdeveloped countries. An estimated 17 percent or 12.7 million of children and adolescents in the United States are obese. Among other things, factors such as poor eating habits, family history, low self-esteem, and inadequate exercise predispose children to obesity. Children with obesity are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, breathing problems, diabetes, hormonal fluctuations, joint pain and so much more. To live a healthy life free of the dangers associated with teenage obesity, a whole set of actions and policies are needed from the government, community, and parents. Here are three strategies to help correct obesity in teenagers.
Strategies parents can use to control obesity in their children
Parents can help their children maintain a healthy weight by balancing their calorie intake from foods and beverages with calories the children use up through normal growth and physical activities. Data from the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention highlights some ways of achieving normal weight in teenagers.
Help your child develop healthy eating habits
An important aspect of balancing calories is eating foods high in nutrients and calories. Parents can help their children develop healthy eating habits by doing some of the following:
- By encouraging members of the family to drink a lot of water.
- By increasing the amount of mono-saturated fat intake.
- By reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, and beverages.
- By including a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods into their diet.
- Serving moderately-sized meals
- By eating poultry, beans, lean meats fish and lentils as the primary source of protein
- By taking non-fat or low-fat milk or dairy products.
- By being consistent with this regimen
Help children stay active
Another way of correcting obesity in teenagers is an active life. By helping your kids maintain an active physical life, they benefit from many health benefits such as healthy bones, low weight, reduced stress and anxiety and so on. Children should be encouraged to participate in daily physical activities for at least one hour. You can start doing this and encourage them to participate along with you. Some of the physical activities you and your children can engage in include:
Dancing, swimming, playing soccer, skipping rope, jumping rope, and brisk walking
According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, you can also help your children to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting down idle. Decrease the number of hours your children spend playing video games, browsing the internet and watching television.
Obesity being a general problem, it usually requires the efforts of everybody at the family and community level to bring it under control. Communities can help fight obesity by promoting early care and education of children. One approach has been the Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which is a partnership between public and private stakeholders aimed at sponsoring salad bars in schools. The objective of the initiative is to help foster healthy eating habits early in a child’s life, increase academic performance during school years, and enhance overall well-being.(CDC,2017).
According to the CDC(2017), communities can also contribute to healthier food environments by putting in place policies that will encourage farmers’ markets and supermarkets to bring their services to areas that have low access to healthy food items. They can also encourage restaurants and fast foods to display the calorie content and nutritional facts of different meals on their menus. Communities can also support and promote nutrition standards for schools, hospitals, and other public places. By encouraging healthy food intake on the school menu, providing more of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain, and higher consumption of water, the community can help drive down the incidence of obesity among teenagers.
These are some of the ways parents and the community can use to correct and prevent the prevalence of obesity in teenagers. It is important to fix obesity early in life, as failure to do this might result in a large population of obese adults with all the attendant problems associated with it.
Tonkin, R and Sacks, D. (1998, December 3.) Obesity management in adolescence: Clinical recommendations. Retrieved September 01, 2017, from the Web
Wieting, J. (2008, October.) Cause and effect in childhood obesity: Solutions for a national epidemic. Retrieved September 01, 2017, from the Web