Obese teens are at a greater risk for obesity-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sleep apnea. Obese teens and children are also at risk for continued obesity into adulthood, which further increases the chance for health problems. Obese teens also suffer social stigma, which causes low self-esteem and prevents them from living up to their full potential. Incorporating proper diet, exercise and support will help reduce these risks and complications.
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Obese teens can begin eating healthy to combat weight problems. Avoiding fatty foods like those available at fast food restaurants can help prevent further weight gain. Incorporating healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein and high-fiber carbohydrates, helps facilitate weight loss. Portion control is also crucial to weight loss and healthy weight management. According to KidsHealth.org, avoiding a clean-plate policy and allowing teens and children to stop eating when they are full will help maintain portion control.
Exercise can help teens combat obesity, even if they are genetically predisposed to being overweight. According to "U.S. News" Health, teens carrying the gene tied to obesity who engage in an hour a day of physical activity can nearly cancel out the gene's effects. An hour a day of exercise does not need to be an hour spent in the gym. Teens can sign up for team sports through their schools or ride their bikes around town to get in an hour of physical activity. If school is close enough, walking to and from school also helps get in an hour a day of physical activity.
Teens are more likely to be obese if their parents are obese. A gene causing a predisposition to obesity may be partially to blame. However, teens may also engage in the same poor eating habits as their parents. Parents can help forge good habits by keeping healthy foods in the house, preparing healthy meals and limiting the time spent in front of the computer or the television for themselves as well as their children. Family activities such as hiking or bike riding provide ways for families to spend time together while getting active.
Parents can have a difficult time trying to emotionally support overweight or obese teens. There is a fine line between being too pushy and not being pushy enough when it comes to approaching this sensitive subject. Parents can provide support by not rewarding good behavior with sweets or treats and by not completely eliminating all of their teen's favorite snacks. Parents should be open to listening to their teen's thoughts and feelings. Negative or derogatory comments about weight, whether it be their teen's or their own, should be avoided.