Parents Need To Help Obese Teens Before This Epidemic Gets Worse

Childhood and teen obesity in America has gotten so out of hand that it’s been labeled an ‘epidemic.’ Some people feel that this language is a little strong or misleading, but it doesn’t take a particularly observant person to notice the staggering increase in obese children and teenagers we’re seeing year after year. While it’s easy to point the blame at what group is responsible for this trend (whether schools or parents or the children themselves) one thing about the trend is clear- it needs to be reversed.

If you are the parent of an obese teen than you need to be the one to take responsibility for helping them lose their unhealthy extra weight.

Teen Obesity is a Real Problem

There are some people out there who argue that obesity isn’t much of a problem. These people admit that more and more teenagers are obese now than ever, but they feel obesity itself isn’t a particularly dangerous health risk. The evidence refutes their claims that obesity is somehow healthy.

Obesity causes a lot of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks, increased blood pressure, problems with both locomotion and breathing, sleep problems (including sleep apnea), and a greatly increased chance of getting diabetes. That’s to say nothing of the social and self esteem problems that obesity causes, especially in children and teenagers.

Anyone who believes and argues that the above physical and emotional issues aren’t that serious is lying to themselves.

Where Obesity Comes From

There are also people out there who argue obesity is determined entirely by genetics. They argue that some people are just naturally obese. While it’s obvious that some people have a predisposition towards obesity and others don’t, it is beyond irresponsible to claim behavior doesn’t contribute to obesity.

teen obesity

Numerous behaviors contribute to obesity. The number one reason why people are obese relates to their eating habits. Your child’s eating habits have to do with both how much they eat, and what sorts of foods they are eating. Highly processed and artificially produced junk foods are disastrous to your child’s health, messing up their hormonal balance and filling them up with empty calories that translate quickly and easily into extra body fat. Most obese teenagers are overfed and undernourished.
Your teenager doesn’t need to be a binge eater for diet to be the main determinate of their obesity. Body fat accumulates just as effectively when large quantities of junk food are spread out over the course of the day.

A lack of physical activity is another huge determinate of obesity. Physical activity doesn’t have to mean structured and intense exercise. Being a physically active person doesn’t have to mean anything more than walking instead of driving, standing instead of sitting. Your child doesn’t have to hit the gym five days a week to stay lean- but they do have to become a more physically active person.

Reversing Teen Obesity

For most teenagers, reversing their obesity requires nothing more complicated than reversing the above two major behavioral problems. If you clean up your teenager’s diet and get them up and moving a lot more, than they will lose weight. It’s not easy, but it is simple. Some teenagers will lose the weight faster than others due to genetic propensities, but all will lose their extra body fat in time.

It’s important that you don’t attempt to completely change all of your teenager’s behaviors in one go. That kind of 180 degree shift is likely to fail as it is too overwhelming for ANYONE to completely turn their life around overnight. But if you start small, by making one meal of the day healthy or by taking a 15 minute walk with your teen, than you are likely to start the weight-loss snowball rolling in the right direction.

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