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Weight Loss for Adolescents, Teenagers and Children
Weight Control Advice for for Teens and Pre-Teens
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Advice on Weight Management for Overweight Kids & Teenagers

Weight Loss for Adolescents Teenagers & Children

While most children should not be put on a severely restricted diet, weight management by a combined approach of a sensible diet and regular exercise will help to control their weight gain.

Calorie Needs for Adolescents Teenagers and Children

Children normally need a certain number of calories each day (energy allowance). Their bodies use these calories as energy for normal daily activities (walking, breathing, etc.).

The approximate calorie-needs for boys are: from 2000 calories for a 7-10 year old, 2500 calories for an 11-14 year old, and 3000 calories for a 15-18 year old.

The approximate calorie needs for girls are: from 2000 calories for a 7-10 year old, to 2200 calories for an 11-18 year old.

Note: these are approximate estimates and some children need more calories (due to a fast metabolism) or less calories (due to a slow metabolism) for daily activities.

Calories-In vs. Calories Out

If a child consumes more food and calories than is required by their energy allowance, than those excess calories are converted to fat for storage. Conversely, if a child consumes less food and calories than is required by their energy allowance, than their body fat is converted to energy for the needed calories.

Adolescents - How to Lose Weight

Teenagers can reduce weight by either:

  • Decreasing calories-in: meaning eat fewer calories, or
  • Increasing calories-out: meaning burn more calories, or
  • Ideally, a combination of both.

Adolescents - Weight Management Goals

The first goal of weight management in kids and young teenagers should be to stop weight gain and maintain normal growth in height. This way they can ‘grow into' their weight. To start, have your child eat healthier (about 500 fewer calories each day) and begin a program of regular exercise and physical activity.

Once your child has stopped gaining weight and is on a regular program of dieting and exercising, you can set further goals of slow weight loss, if necessary.


Weight Loss for Adolescents - Behavior Modification

It is important to modify the behaviors that have caused your child to become overweight and prevent weight loss, including:

Limiting Television
Y ou should limit television viewing to about one or two hours each day (this includes playing video games or using the computer). Watching television encourages lack of exercise and exposes the viewer to fatty food commercials.

Healthy Eating Habits
Your child should eat three well-balanced meals of average size each day, plus two nutritious snacks. Discourage skipping of meals (especially breakfast).

You should limit snacks to two each day and they can include low-calorie foods, such as raw fruits or vegetables. Avoid using high calorie or high fat foods for snacks, especially chips, cookies, etc.

You should encourage your child to drink four to six glasses of water each day, especially before meals. Water has no calories and it will help you to feel full. Other drinks can include diet sodas and lowfat milk. Avoid letting your child drink regular soft drinks or fruit juices, as they are high in calories (150-170 calories per serving).

Diet Journal
If you think it helps your teenager to improve his eating habits, (sometimes it doesn't) encourage him to keep a weekly journal of food and beverage intake. You should definitely encourage a teenager to keep track of the amount of time he spends watching television, playing videogames and exercising. You might also record your child's weight once a week.

Check Food Labels
It is not necessary to count calories, but you and your child should become more educated about the foods you eat and how many calories they contain. You should begin to routinely check the nutrition label of the foods that your family is eating. You want to try and eat foods low in calories and also low in fat. Be careful of many low fat or ‘diet foods,' as they can still be high in calories even though they are low in fat.

Check Food Serving Sizes
Also, begin checking the serving size of prepared meals and snacks. A bag of chips might only have 200 calories, but you may be surprised when the serving size is only 10 chips. Eating the whole bag can easily get you over 1000 calories.


Weight Loss For Adolescents - Eating Habits

Some eating habits that will help your kids/teenagers to lose weight include:

Healthy Meals
Your child should eat three well-balanced meals of average size each day. Serve fewer fatty foods. It is best to prepare foods that are baked, broiled or steamed, rather than fried. In addition to a small serving of lean meat, provide large servings of vegetables.

Single Servings
Avoid serving seconds of the main course or desert. You can eat more salad or other vegetables if still hungry.

Serve fresh fruit as a dessert and avoid frequent eating of ice cream or cake or other high calorie foods.

Grocery Shopping
Buy low-calorie and lower-fat meals, snacks and deserts and buy low fat or skim milk and diet drinks. Avoid buying high calorie deserts or snacks, such as snack chips, regular soft drinks or regular ice cream.

Eat at the Table
Avoid letting your child eat meals or snacks outside of the kitchen or dining room. And discourage eating while watching TV.

Reduce Fast Food
You should limit how often you allow your children to eat fast food, as it is usually high in fat and calories.


Weight Loss For Adolescents - Physical Activity

An essential part of any weight control or weight management program is regular physical activity. Encourage your child to participate in a physical education class in school and extracurricular sports at school or in the community. Help your chiild to find physical activities that he enjoys doing.

Teenage Exercise Suggestions to Assist Weight Loss

  • Walk or ride a bike instead of driving for short distances.
  • Take a walk with a friend or walk the family dog each day.
  • Use stairs instead of escalators or elevators.
  • Park your car at the end of the parking lot, not next to the store.
  • Encourage regular exercise for 20-30 minutes 4-5 times each week. This may include walking, jogging, swimming, bike riding, rollerblading, skateboarding, or playing a sport, such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, soccer.
  • Go for routine family walks or bike rides in the neighborhood or local park.


Weight Loss For Teenagers - Set A Good Example

Set A Healthy Example for Your Children and Teenagers
To help get your kids to exercise and eat more healthy, it is very important that you provide them with a healthy lifestyle that they can copy. For example, it's a good idea to:

  • Serve and eat healthy food.
  • Snack on healthy foods.
  • Maintain a reasonable body weight.
  • Take regular exercise.
  • Help educate your kids about diet and fitness.

Weight Loss For Teenagers - Importance of Self Esteem

While it is important to help your child reach a more healthy weight, it is not as important as maintaining their self-esteem. Avoid telling your child that he is fat, avoid strict diets or withholding or depriving your child of food when he is hungry. Don't overly nag your child about his weight or eating habits. Also, make sure your child knows that being overweight doesn't change what kind of person he is or how much you love him.

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