Obesity is one of the most preventable medical causes of disease among teens. It leads to the increase in early onset diabetes with all of its complications, not to mention the complications of obesity itself. One of the best ways to prevent teenage obesity is with diet and exercise. We know the chances of teens becoming an overweight or obese adult are high, so the time to do something, if it has not already been done, is in high school.
There are three things to bear in mind when you sign your teen up for a sport to get more exercise:
1. Activity for Life
Although it's great your teen is exercising now, it's ideal if you can get them playing a sport they can continue to play or engage in as a young adult and later life. This will help ensure that sports and exercise are a regular part of their life, regardless of their financial situation or access to a gym. Team sports are especially great because of the added benefit of socializing with other teens that they provide, but if they engage in a second, non-team sport or exercise, such as jogging or power walking, they will have fewer excuses when it comes to exercising
2. Food for Life
Without changing the way your teen eats there is no way your teen will lose any weight, no matter how much exercise they get. They can work out hard enough to train for a marathon, but with poor eating their weight may, at best, only stay the same.
Some key things to keep in mind are:
- Minimal to no junk food, and this includes sugary drinks.
- More fiber, fruits and veggies: they go a long way to minimizing snacking and improving weight control.
3. How does your teen feel?
It isn't about the number on the scale. You don't even need a scale. Getting a sense of where your teen belongs weight-wise has more to do with how they feel. They should be able to tell they don't fit into their clothes well, or they don't have a lot of energy to run upstairs and be aware that this results from eating poorly. Eating poorly is frequently reflected in too much weight.
If your teen has joined a sport to get them moving and lose some extra weight that is great! But, it is only a first step. You need to continue the ball rolling by following through with important food changes and getting them in touch with how they feel when they eat properly, not stepping on the scale everyday to see if they lost any weight.
Thanks for all your hard work!