Introduce Lifestyle Changes continued...
Health experts recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to stay fit and to help prevent obesity in teens. To help with teen weight loss, your child needs to build up to an hour of energetic daily exercise. Try these two tactics to get your teen moving:
- Coach your teen to set small achievable goals. Starting with 10 minutes a day is fine -- as long as your teen actually does it. Then have her slowly add a few minutes every day. Small, achievable steps will help her have successes that will build her self-confidence and keep her motivated.
- Get the whole family involved. Take up hiking as a family, or go on bike rides together. Getting pedometers for family members can encourage everyone to take more steps. And giving your teen her own pedometer will give her an easy way to monitor her own activity level.
Helping with weight maintenance or teen weight loss isn't just about food and exercise. Experts say that other changes -- like removing the TV from a teen's bedroom to cut back on screen time and encouraging her to get enough sleep -- can also help.
Expert Support for Teen Weight Loss
If making lifestyle changes isn't enough to help your teen manage his weight, get some outside help.
When it comes to dealing with obesity in teens, many families get stuck. Talking to someone outside the family can give you perspective and direction -- and help your overweight teen set realistic goals. If you and your teen have gotten into conflicts about her weight, outside advice could help defuse the situation.
You have many options. Start with a pediatrician, a dietitian, or another expert on obesity in teens. Seeing a therapist, such as a psychologist or a social worker with a background in teen weight loss, can also help. Many teenagers who are overweight also struggle with depression, so therapy can have additional benefits.
Treatment approaches for obesity in teens differ. Experts disagree to some degree on the best approach. Some stress the importance of monitoring to track progress. Strategies include regular weigh-ins and keeping track of food and exercise. Others think that close accounting doesn't work. Ultimately, you have to decide what approach feels right for your family. Your teen may benefit most from programs that are geared to kids his or her age. Here are some options to check on. Check to see if your medical insurance plan will help cover the costs of weight management programs.
Weight loss programs for teens right in your pediatrician's office. Some health care providers may have programs that include sessions with dietitians or behavior experts.
Pediatric weight management centers in a hospital or separate center. These may be similar to programs in medical offices and offer the support of several experts.