4 Practical Steps to Prevent Teenage Obesity

The teenage years are a defining era in your child's development. From personality to physicality, teenagers form habits that could define the rest of their lives. Obesity in children and teenagers is a growing issue. In 1975, just 4% of children between the ages of 5 and 19 were diagnosed with obesity. By 2016, this number had shot up to 18%. Apart from reduced mobility and a general lack of body positivity, teenage obesity can be the predecessor to deadly complications such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver disease.

The causes of obesity, in general, seem to be clear cut: a lack of physical activity in combination with poor eating habits and genetics are widely accepted as the key agents involved. However, as with other lifestyle diseases, prevention becomes personal. Here are four steps you can take to help your child in the battle against teenage obesity.

Be The Role Model

Parents who eat healthy foods and participate in physical activity set an example so that a child is more likely to do the same. Instead of focusing on your child's weight as an issue, try to gradually change your family's habits of diet and exercise as a unit. The support that comes from working together as a household will make the process of getting healthy and staying that way a lot easier for everyone!

Stock Up On What's Good

A healthy diet starts in the supermarket - encourage your children to be aware of what goes into their diet. Establish a daily schedule for meals and snacks with healthy options being ever available at hand. Fruits and vegetables can be a great snack once you get a taste of them!

Playful Exercise 

For teenagers, 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week would be a healthy recommendation. But that sentence doesn't sound very exciting, even to adults, right? How about 60 minutes of volleyball or cricket? Now that's a good habit that will never seem like a chore!

Hydrate Right

Water is the best beverage to hydrate yourself. Without sufficient water, your teenager could feel uncomfortable and dissatisfied with their diet, regardless of how healthy it is. Water intake is key to a healthy physique and even promotes better intellectual functioning. It should not be underestimated.

Ultimately, the goal of avoiding teenage obesity is to create a lifestyle that your child is healthy and happy with. Avoid labeling foods as good or bad, and encourage moderation on all fronts. After all, your teenager is going through a time when they are learning how to become an independent adult and all they need from you is a little guidance.