Being overweight isn’t just a problem for adults — it’s a problem for young kids and teenagers too. About 16% of kids and teens are overweight, and roughly 20% are obese.
Carrying extra pounds is just as dangerous for teens as for adults, and losing weight is just as difficult. For teens, there’s the added problem of peer pressure and the extreme toll it can take on self-esteem and self-confidence.
At Premier Physicians Weight Loss & Wellness in Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno, Nevada, Dana Trippi, DO, and the team offer specialized adolescent weight management plans to help teens lead healthier, happier lives.
But parents play a key role too. In this post, learn what you can do to support your teen on their weight loss journey.
What’s everybody’s least-favorite four-letter word? Diet. The idea of dieting conjures up a lot of unpleasantness, including feelings of hunger and meals that, while healthy, aren’t appetizing.
Over time, people who routinely diet can develop unhealthy feelings about food — feelings that can drive weight gain.
Instead of focusing on diets and their restrictions, emphasize healthy habits in general. That includes making good food choices, adjusting portion size, choosing nutritionally dense snacks, getting lots of exercise, and making sleep a priority.
It may not always feel like it, but your teen looks at you as a role model. It’s a lot easier for them to engage in healthy habits when they see their parents doing the same.
Make a meal plan focused on nutritious foods and set aside time each day to engage in physical activity, like an after-dinner walk or bike ride. Let your teen see you embracing healthy habits and practicing good self-care too.
Teens (and adults) are more likely to embrace healthy eating habits when they have a say in what they eat. Spend time planning and preparing meals together and let them make food choices too.
Try new foods and cuisines to keep things interesting and even educational. That can help your teen see healthy eating as fun, strengthen your bond, and demonstrate how much you care about their health and well-being.
Americans tend to be sedentary, and one way to break that pattern is to engage in physical activity in youth. Going for a family hike is a great way to stay active while providing mutual support. But it’s also important for your teen to develop their own interests.
Help your teen explore new activities to find something that speaks to their interests, such as yoga, martial arts, dance, swimming, and team sports. Having their own activity helps with weight management and boosts their self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
Help your teen see themselves as more than their body image. Praise their strengths, talents, and individuality. Emphasize that healthy habits aren’t about appearances but setting patterns to help them enjoy their life now and throughout their adult years.
One way to help your teen improve their self-image is by being a good listener. Don’t judge or nag them about their weight. Help them see you as a source of support.
Weight loss isn’t easy, regardless of age. For teens, being overweight or obese can pose additional challenges that leave a lasting impact. Supporting your teen can help them establish healthy habits to last a lifetime.