19 Aug How to deal with weight gain in teenagers due to the confined to online classes and less outdoor activities
Lockdown has proven to be a time of both challenge and opportunity for Indian parents. One of the concerning issues during the Covid-19 pandemic is a rise in health problems associated with obesity in young kids and teenagers. Covid-19 has led to school closure all over the world and as the pandemic rages on with delayed school openings the problem could get worse, causing lingering negative health issues for a generation of youth.
The combination of stay at home scenario combined with no access to any sports and activities are leading to weight gain among children of different ages. Online schooling restricts children’s movements and eliminates the opportunity for children to walk to their classes, participate in gym, etc.
The majority of parents are worried about their child’s recent weight gain. However, even without access to any gym or playground, there are ways to keep their children active and help in weight loss.
Diet and exercise are essential parts of fighting obesity. For effective weight loss and management get your kids into a routine as soon as possible that includes both healthy eating and exercise.
What type of exercise will help?
While planning an exercise pattern for kids it is important to consider kid’s/youngster’s interest level. The first step is to implement some sort of schedule including healthy meals and routine exercises in a way where they can get moving regularly.
Here are a few simple and easy to follow exercises that can all be completed in the home by the whole family.
- Taking small walks for 5-10min every hour
- Encourage up to 60 min of physical activity ranging from jumping ropes to cycling, running, etc. Several short 10-minute, bursts of activity throughout the day can be just as good as an hour-long workout.
- For younger kids, you may plan chasing games, ball games, cricket to keep them involved. For teenagers, it could be cycling, dancing, or martial arts, etc.
- Your kids will take more interest if physical activity is something you do as a family.
Now, let’s discuss the importance of a healthy diet. We know that our food habits and wellbeing are related, and when you eat processed, unhealthy food, rubbish you tend to feel tired, dull, or depressed. During lockdown situations, many households have stocked up on shelf-stable foods including ultra-processed, calorie-dense comfort foods. There has been an increased concern about a rise in health-related issues and weight gain in kids associated with increased junk food consumption and an increase in snacking habits.
Parents are struggling to provide healthy food amidst a significant pandemic scenario. Here are a few tips to reinforce the important relationship between food habits and the overall wellbeing of kids and teenagers.
Choose lots of veggies and fruits. Add green vegetables, proteins, whole grain products, and fresh fruits every day. Avoid starchy food items such as pasta, pizza, or even some dairy items. Protein-rich foods including lean meat, fish, eggs, etc are important for your child’s growth and muscle development. Encourage your child to choose snacks from the healthy food groups. If you want to serve something special, try homemade sweets.
Discourage your child from having sugary or high-fat foods like bakery products, sweets, cakes, biscuits, or soft drinks, fizzy drinks, etc. Explain to your child how these foods and drinks tend to increases the risk of tooth decay, obesity, and other health problems. Be a good role model for your kids. If your child sees you eating and enjoying a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, they are more likely to join in.
Lack of sleep is another reason behind obesity. Limit screen-time during bedtime and ensure that your kid is getting a sufficient amount of sleep.
There’s plenty you can do to help your kids. Managing weight problems in children as early as possible can reduce their risk of developing serious medical conditions as they get older. Few simple changes to a daily routine can have a big impact on fitness levels and wellbeing for the whole family.