Every parent wants to make sure that their kids are as healthy as they can possibly be. That desire obviously carries over throughout their lives, not just when they’re toddlers and babies. These days, increasing number of teenagers are falling victim to major health epidemics, with more and more of them becoming obese, and suffering from conditions such as type II diabetes (which was once known as “Adult Onset Diabetes.”)
Managing your weight, and maintaining it at a healthy level, seems to be one of the most important things you can do. Also it can reduce your risks of major health disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, and various metabolic disorders. Of course, it’s often difficult enough to manage your own weight, never mind that of your teenager.
Helping your teen to maintain a healthy weight is important, but it also requires some care and tact. Here are a few suggestions.
Eliminate junk food (or at least, cut it way down) and focus on whole, unprocessed foods
Teens are often really into their junk food. It sometimes feels like they can get away with a lot more of it. Their metabolisms are still fast enough to compensate for some of the excess calories.
All the same, research consistently shows that processed food such as high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, contribute dramatically to conditions like chronic inflammation in the body, and in turn to obesity, among other things.
Even if your teen is managing to remain pretty slim for the time being, do what you can to try and eliminate junk food. Instead of stocking processed snacks at home, focus on whole, unprocessed foods, instead. And try to talk to your teen about the benefits of a whole food diet for their energy levels, athletic ability, looks, and health.
Make sure your kid is getting plenty of sleep
The sleep scientist Matthew Walker, points out in his book “Why We Sleep,” that even just a few nights of insufficient sleep can damage your blood sugar regulation. It can damage it so much that you would be classified as pre-diabetic by any doctor that tested you.
Sleep is essential, at all stages of life, for weight management, for good overall health, and for proper mood regulation, among other things. Sleep is especially important for growing kids and teenagers. So, make sure your kid is getting plenty of sleep. Do what you can to reduce distractions that could keep them up at night.
Encourage, push, and motivate your teen to get a good baseline level of physical activity in each day
A sedentary life is notoriously bad for your health, and also for your waistline. But, according to recent research, it’s not enough just to go to the gym for an hour a day. In order to offset the harm done by a sedentary lifestyle, you need to focus on getting a good baseline level of physical activity in each day. Regular bouts of walking around, for example.
Try to encourage, push, and motivate your teen to get that good baseline of moderate-level of physical activity each day. Even just assigning them physically active chores might help.
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