Teenage obesity and teenage weight gain is harder to control than childhood obesity. This is because children are more receptive to advice and suggestions than teens.
Also, you cannot chide a teenager in the same way as a pre-teen as we all know 🙂
As we grow into adolescence, we grow physically as well as mentally. We become much more sensitive and stubborn than before. As teenagers, I am sure you remember, we think of ourselves as more intelligent than our parents. I am definitely one to admit that handling a teenage kid is a real pain in the butt.
Now, Today, Why Teenage Weight Gain?
We see a lot of stories and news articles that tell us about childhood obesity and in going to a mall or driving by a bunch of kids at a local 7-11 you can definitely vouch for the fact that kids today are a bit chubbier than they were a few years ago, at least that is what I tend to see.
So shy is this? We know that there are diet changes, lack of personal responsibility, and freedom, but lets really look at the symptoms, the reason that this is happening more now.
1) Teens hardly know the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods since they were taught about it during their childhood. If they were eating junk and fatty foods as little kids, the same unhealthy eating habit follows them into their adolescence and they start eating them in larger quantities.
Parents often ask their kids to buy junk foods from outside instead of taking the time or trouble to cook healthy snacks at home, this itself can lead to teenage weight gain. If your child never tastes healthy and organic foods, he or she would naturally not be interested in them in the latter years of his life.
Plus, if your child has a school cafeteria, things could get only worse. These days, schools prefer to buy junk foods from outside since it is the cheaper option to cooking meals in-house. School budgets are stretched tight and those cuts can definitely show up in a cafeteria.
There is just no way your teen kid can have a choice to eat healthy foods. The easiest way I think is to make sure that meal planning is a central part of family eating so that decisions on dinners are made well ahead of time.
Also having lots of fruits and veggies in the fridge so that the kids will have less reason to look for chips and crackers in the pantry has helped me, as well as my kids.
2) Teens are much more tempted to try out restaurant foods than their pre-teen counterparts. You see, almost all teenagers today have a bit more freedom and some money to go out with friends. There are usually two sources of this cash: either their parents offer them pocket money or they make money by dong part time jobs.
So, when teens have money to spend, they usually spend it on junk foods because they are tasty and yummy. This will lead to teenage weight gain with all the extra calories. My son is the worst for this. He thinks that everyday he should be able to have a Cherry Pepsi and some candy. At 147 pounds and with a growing body it is far more important for him to make better snacking decisions than I make probably.
A lot of their food habits are also influenced by their peers at school. I still remember how every time my friend had a Super Big Gulp, I would inevitably buy one for myself, even though I had no intention of buying it when I left the house. Actually this peer pressure can be even worse, I remember how proud I was to have 2 Super Big Gulps in a day which now as an adult I find very very terrible.
3) Some, although not all Teens hardly exercise. Again, we as parents have got a big role to play here. If a kid is not taught the benefits of exercises, or if parents allow them to play video games for hours instead of encouraging them to participate in outdoor sports, there is a good chance our kids will be less healthy, the situation could only get worse as they grow into adolescence.
There are indeed very few schools which make outdoors sports and other such activities a mandatory part of their curriculum. As such, our present school system can also be blamed for teens health and weight gain.
Can We Really Blame Schools For Teenage Weight Gain?
It would have been good if the present American lifestyle and education system could be completely revolutionized; however, I don’t see it happening within the next few years.
Hence, as a parent, it is high time that we all start taking control of our kid’s health.
As to what you should do to keep your teenage kid healthy, I think that what I said above is more than enough to help our kids eat and exercise a lot healthier and avoid teenage weight gain by just having them, and us live healthier, more active lives.