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Teen obesity

Sometimes losing weight requires a little help

Obesity is a serious health concern for young people. It is linked to type 2 diabetes, fractures, joint pain, menstrual irregularities and depression as well as worsening chronic conditions such as asthma.


Psychological effects

Adolescents who are obese face psychological consequences. The prejudice associated with obesity is intense and young people are often humiliated and suffer permanent emotional scars. Weight loss is about skills, not will.

 Those who need to lose weight usually do not lack will power; they lack skills to eat less and exercise more in a society that teaches them to do just he opposite. It is a different skill set – much like learning to play the piano or driving a car.

Here are some skills that you may find helpful in the weight-loss process:

  • Understand the buzz. Fast food restaurants advertise to persuade individuals to buy their products, but teen-targeted magazines and television stations advertise that "thin is in". The messages are conflicting.
  • Take control of your environment:
    • Pass on the "biggie sizes" and "value meals" to control your portion sizes
    • Cut back on television time and increase your activity.
  • Focus on your health instead of your waist:
    • Don't use your weight to measure your self-worth.
    • Pay attention to healthy food choices, exercising and gaining strength.
  • Write down what you eat, how much of it you eat and the time you eat it. This helps identify diet patterns and problem areas.
  • Develop realistic expectations about what's possible and what's practical:
    • A small drop in body weight can make a big difference in health.
    • Set achievable short-term goals and you'll experience success. When accomplished, they will boost your self-esteem and help you tackle the longer-term goals you set for yourself.

It can also affect a young girl’s self-image. The prejudice associated with obesity is intense and young people are often humiliated and suffer emotional scars.

Your daughter does not have to try to lose the weight on her own. Novant Health has designed programs to help adolescents with their weight loss goals. Here are some of the services we offer for weight loss:

  • Individual assessments
  • Metabolic and body composition testing
  • Parent and family education

If recommended, we can also counsel your daughter on surgical weight loss options that are available to her through Novant Health.

Healthier families = healthier kids

Parents are the key to ensuring that their children start taking their physical health serious. By encouraging healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, parents can help ensure that their children achieve a balanced lifestyle. At the Novant Health, we work with parents and teens to develop healthy eating plans and fun, energy-filled exercise routines. We teach adolescents and their parents about how to adopt healthier lifestyles, choose healthy snacks and lunches, track calorie intake, portion-control and about the importance of exercise.

 

Dealing with being overweight

All teens struggle with learning how to handle stress. It’s tough trying to juggle school, peer pressure, relationships with parents and friends, responsibilities and the expectations of others. It can be overwhelming, but if you’re overweight, the risk of emotional trauma is much higher.     

Overweight girls often suffer humiliation when they are called hurtful names, teased, bullied and excluded from games and other activities. This kind of behavior isn’t usually a one-time incident. It happens daily, weekly, monthly and for some, the torture goes on for years.

These negative experiences can build deep emotional scars that are not easily forgotten, mirroring your thoughts into negative ideas about yourself. When this happens, it creates poor self-esteem, fosters a lack of confidence and builds sadness and depression. For a few, this depression could escalate into self-destructive behaviors such as eating disorders or suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing any of these thoughts or behaviors, seek immediate medical care through Novant Health’s Care line. All it takes is one free, single phone call to a qualified nurse who will evaluate your needs and advise you on the best course of treatment.

Like many adults, some teens become motivated to lose the excess weight, but most don’t know where to begin or how to be consistent and stay with it. This is because a diet is a temporary solution to a lifetime problem. Once you go off the diet, the weight comes back. Losing weight and keeping it off, requires a lifestyle change. You will have to exercise regularly (3-4 times per week) and eat healthy meals with moderate proportions throughout your life.