Weight loss among teenagers after COVID-19 lockdown; can the parents help?
How to start weight loss among teenagers after COVID-19 lockdown
For the last, almost two years due to COVID-19 lockdowns all across the world, the overall health of everyone has got affected. COVID-19 has negatively impacted sleep patterns, diet, and physical activity, especially among teenagers and children. Recently I attended an online get-together where I came across many worried moms who wanted to know about weight loss among teenagers. They asked me to plan meals for their teenagers so that they can lose the extra weight gained during lockdown periods.
It is a common fact all over the world that during lockdown periods, the children ate an additional meal on a daily basis. Not only that they slept an extra half hour every day. To add to that it is also common all over the world that kids added nearly five hours per day of screen time. On the other hand, the physical activity levels of children decreased by more than two hours per week. It is a commonly known fact that children, as well as teenagers, gain more weight during summer vacation and this time the vacation seems to be an unending affair.
What does the research say about weight gain among teenagers during lockdowns?
There were various researches being conducted at various levels on children and teens with obesity issues. Lifestyle information related to diet, activity levels, and sleep patterns was collected on the children in 2019. Questions asked in these researches were focused on eating habits, sleep time, physical activity, screen time, and the consumption of junk food, snacks, fruits, and vegetables. The results concluded that there were negative changes in the overall behavior of the kids. Sadly it was also confirmed that the excess weight gained during lockdowns may not be easily reversible and might contribute to obesity during adulthood if healthier behaviors are not taken care of.
What is a healthy weight and how to achieve it?
I personally believe from my experience that being healthy is really about being at a weight that is right for you. Though the best way to find out if you are at a healthy weight or not is by checking online or talking to a doctor or dietitian. But whatever you believe in, it is important to promote healthy norms and set realistic goals for weight loss among teenagers.
Parents need to understand that weight management is about long-term success, not short-term achievement. It is a well-known fact that people who lose weight quickly by crash dieting or other such extreme measures usually gain back most of the weight because they don’t make an effort to change their habits.
Tips for long-term success in weight loss among teenagers
The best weight-management programs are those that can help you maintain for a lifetime.
- I have observed that though teenagers love to rebel against everything the parents tell them to do yet if food and exercise are made a family affair or kind of a rule to be followed by everyone, it can help them with disciplining their lives. So you need to be that mom or dad who can lend help and support to the kids.
- The goal must be to make diet or lifestyle changes in such a way that they should benefit the whole family.
- Control your drinks like the ones heavy on calories. Sodas, juices, and other such drinks that you at times offer to your kids as energy boosters actually backfire. Cutting out one can of soda or energy drink saves more than 150 calories. The best drink can be water or fresh juice that is without added sugar.
- Choosing nonfat or low-fat milk is also a good idea if you plan for long-term weight control.
- Moms need to stop the urge to overfeed the kids. They must teach kids to stop eating when they’re full.
- Keep your kids away from stress. Yes, that is correct. If you think that your child is a carefree one, please rethink because staying inside the home without any friends during lockdown already has messed up with their mental health. Your stress over the weight gain will mess up your relation with your kids.
- We can better manage our hunger when we have a meal schedule. It is a good idea to take the help of a meal planner or a dietician for that.
- Moving around after meals is important. Your kid needs to stretch and spin during breaks between online classes. Get off your behind as much as possible. Find different ways to fit activities into your daily routine. Jog or walk up and down the stairs instead of lifts a couple of times before you lie down after lunch. Your goal should be to work up to 60 minutes of exercise every day.
- In case you are looking for a meal planner to assist you and your teenage kid in weight management, contact us.