Weight Loss Plans for 13-Year-Olds

Boy sitting in school hallway
Sports may help teens to get out and get active. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Weight loss can be a delicate subject when it comes to your teen. Teaching your child about healthy eating and encouraging physical activity can go a long way in helping your 13-year-old to shed excess weight. Remember, the habits developed during childhood often continue into adulthood.

When to Lose Weight

Teens go through growth spurts at different times and stages of development. It is important to determine if you child is eating more and seeming to gain weight because of unhealthy practices or because he or she is having a growth spurt. It is always good to encourage healthy diet and exercise, but to determine if your teen needs to lose weight visit your family doctor. Have your doctor determine your child’s body mass index (BMI). If your teens BMI falls in the 18.5 to 24.9 range, your teen is at a healthy weight. If your teen is above 24.9 he or she is categorized as overweight. Your doctor can address some methods to help your teen reduce his BMI.

Diet and Nutrition

Don't put an overweight 13-year-old on a strict diet. Instead, practice better nutritional habits. An actual diet can lead to long-term emotional and eating disorders. Confusing a 13-year-old with temporary eating solutions will not help to keep the weight off. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts make for healthy snacks to keep teens feeling full and energized throughout the day. Fill your household with healthy alternatives to help teach your teen about healthy eating practices. Portion out meals to maintain a balanced diet of 1,500 to 1,800 calories daily. A daily eating plan should incorporate two or three 3-ounce servings of meat or protein, five 1-cup servings of fruits and vegetables, four 1-cup servings of dairy, and three to five 1/2-cup or 1-ounce servings of whole grains. Incorporating this eating plan into family meals helps teens to lose weight and develop the habit of healthy lifestyle choices.

Time With Technology

The amount of time spent in front of the TV and computer is one reason teenagers don’t get enough exercise. Set a time limit for your teen each night. If they can only spend a few hours on the computer and watching the TV, they will then be obligated to get up and do something more active. Suggest other alternatives for your teen that promote activity. A few suggestions for alternative activities include walking with friends instead of chatting online or talking on the phone, participating in outdoor sports, volunteering with a local organization or babysitting for a few families in the neighborhood. Active and healthy lifestyle changes will help a teen of any age lose weight.

Exercise

Exercise is crucial for the weight loss of a 13-year-old. Your teen needs to burn more calories than he or she eats in order to successfully lose weight. Each day, 60 minutes of physical activity is recommended for children and teens. Exercise doesn’t have to be done all at one time, but can be completed in increments throughout the day. To get your 13-year-old to exercise more, try making it more fun. Involvement in sports, family walks or bike rides, dance classes and even outdoor play are all great ways to get your child to be more active.

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