Teen Obesity - Diet And Exercise

Obesity in children is a common complaint and has grown considerably in recent years. It is easiest to recognise but difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to excessive fat intake and lack of exercise may lead to obese adults unless children adopt healthier food intake and active lifestyle.

UAE study shows one in three children are overweight. Recent years have shown an increase in the number of overweight or obese adolescents, due to sedentary lifestyle and increased fat content in people's diets.

Overweight children and teens are at a high risk for developing serious diseases. Type 2 diabetes and heart disease were considered adult diseases, but they are now being reported in children and teens

Teenage stress:

Most of the teens feel stressed from school, after-school activities, peer pressure, busy schedule and family relationships. This may lead teens to skip breakfast, buying lunch from vending machines, and grabbing whatever is in the refrigerator for dinner when they get home

It’s time to think about your health:

Yet healthy behaviours, like nutritious eating and regular physical activity, may help to meet the challenges of your life. In fact, healthy eating and regular exercise may help you feel energised, learn better, and stay alert in class. These healthy habits may also lower your risk for diseases such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

Dieting is not the answer

The best way to lose weight is to eat healthfully and be physically active. It is a good idea to talk with your health care provider if you want to lose weight. Many teens turn to unhealthy dieting methods to lose weight, including eating very little, cutting out whole groups of foods (like grain products), skipping meals, and fasting. These methods can leave out important foods you need to grow.

Other weight-loss tactics such as smoking, self-induced vomiting, or using diet pills or laxatives can lead to health problems. In fact, unhealthy dieting can actually cause you to gain more weight because it often leads to a cycle of eating very little, then overeating or binge eating

Healthy Eating:

Eating healthfully means getting the right balance of nutrients your body needs to perform every day.

A healthy eating plan includes:

Eat fruits and vegetables every day: When consumed as part of a well-balanced and nutritious eating plan, fruits and vegetables can help keep you healthy. You may get your servings from fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables.

Count your calcium: Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth. This nutrient is very important, since getting enough calcium now can reduce the risk for broken bones later in life. Aim for at least three 1 cup-equivalents of low-fat or fat-free calcium-rich foods and beverages each day.

Power up with protein: Protein builds and repairs body tissue like muscles and organs. Eating enough protein can help you grow strong and sustain your energy levels. Teens need five and one-half 1 ounce equivalents of protein-rich foods each day.

Go whole grain: Grain foods help give you energy. Whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal usually have more nutrients than refined grain products. They give you a feeling of fullness and add bulk to your diet.

Know your fats:

  • Fat is also an important nutrient. It helps your body grow and develop, and is a source of energy. It even keeps your skin and hair healthy.
  • Unsaturated fat can be part of a healthy diet as long as you do not eat too much since it is still high in calories.
  • Good sources include:

    (a) Olive, canola, safflower, sun-flower, corn, and soybean oils

    (b) Fish : salmon, trout, tuna, and whitefish

    (c) Nuts : walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and cashews

Limit saturated fat, which can clog your arteries and raise your risk for heart disease. Saturated fat is found primarily in animal products and in a few plant oils.

Limit Trans-fat, which is also bad for your heart. Trans fat is often found in:

  • Baked goods like cookies, muffins, and doughnuts
  • Snack foods like crackers and chips
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Stick margarine
  • Fried foods

Various Healthy Tips one should follow:

  • Control your food portions.
  • Read food labels for serving size, calories & other nutrients & percent of daily value.
  • Plan your meals and snacks in a healthy way.
  • Start your day with breakfast.
  • Pack a healthy lunch.
  • Snack smart.
  • Eat dinner with your family.
  • Limit fast food and choose wisely.
  • Rethink your drinks. Avoid soda & other sugary drinks.

Physical Activity: Like eating well, physical activity may help you feel good. Being physically active may:

  • Help you control your weight, build lean muscle, and reduce your body fat
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Increase flexibility and balance
  • Reduce your risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure

Physical activity also has possible emotional and social benefits, including:

  • Improving your self-esteem and mood
  • Decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Helping you do better in school
  • Improving your teamwork skills through sports

Be active every day:

Physical activity should be part of your daily life, whether you play sports, take P.E. or other exercise classes, or even get from place to place by walking or bicycling. Teens should be physically active for 60 minutes or more on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Turn off the TV and get moving:

Try to cut back on your TV, com-puter, and video game time and get moving instead.

Here are some tips to help you break the TV habit:

  • Tape your favourite shows and watch them later.

  • Replace after-school TV watching and video game use with physical activities.

Choose activities you like and stick to them:

  • Being physically active does not mean you have to join a gym or play a competitive sport. or even turn up the music and dance. You can take a brisk walk around your neighbourhood.
  • Try some of these ideas:

    a. Play volleyball

    b. Swim laps

    c. Jump rope

    d. Shoot baskets

    e. Ride your bike

    f. Run

What you can do at home.

  • Talk to your family about making changes that encourage healthy eating and regular physical activity.
  • Dance to music, run around the park, or play basketball together.
  • Help your family plan weekly menus and shopping lists.
  • Get involved with shopping and cooking too.