Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weight Loss: Adolescence and Weight Problems

by Nicholas Tan

Adolescent or teens are undergoing heavy transition between childhood and adulthood. It is the time they experience the first surge of hormones leading to different emotional complexities. They start to assert themselves in every situation and meet challenges like young adults. When social circle starts to widen, teens are always conscious about physical appearance, especially girls. They are anxious to look best, and most of all to look slender in all occasions.
Weight loss sounds like a struggle to some people, while there are ironically those who aspire to gain weight. Losing weight is critical to those who are 20% over weight. If being thin is quite a problem to some, the reality still shouts loud that it is ugly to be fat.

The onset of this issue starts in early teen-age years. High schools are stressed out to be thin while they nibble on high calorie foods. People with fast metabolism or those who weigh normally have the capacity to burn fat easier than those who overweight by heredity.

Teen weight loss has to be ruled out even childhood years. It starts during infanthood. Based on researches, breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from obesity in their adult years. Bottle fed babies tend to suck milk easily compared to breast fed babies who work harder to suck the natural way. Infants who become overweight are higher with bottle fed babies and they carry it over until they reach adolescent years. Once a child is already obese during childhood, the body has already adjusted to such metabolism.

Teens are also affected by hormonal changes. Girls have monthly woes of hormonal peaks, which could be felt during and after menstrual cycle and during ovulation. Water retention usually occurs before a period. This could be avoided by eating less salty food. Boys who are very active with activities tend to eat more but could find balance in shedding fats easily.

They are also prone to obesity given the right formula of eating too much, eating oily/fatty foods and not shedding the excess calories. Needless to say, being overweight knows no gender except for the biological reality that boys are more muscular by girls. By nature girls have 25% more body fat compared to boys because their bodies are prepared for nurturing children.

Weight loss for teen does not have to be complicated. If the teen is excessively problematic about the issue, it is important to consult a doctor and know the reason behind the abnormal weight. The doctor will determine how to attack the real problem first rather than giving ineffective methods of diets. The doctor will know the teen's daily habit and lifestyle from where he can base his judgment in giving the right nutritional advice.

Exercise is an important part of routine session to be undergone by a teen. This is to trim the muscles during weight loss. Exercise not only improves circulation but it also boosts the functioning of the body.

Effective dieting is like a goal with rules to be followed. If an expert has tabulated a weight loss diet, it should be complied with great courage and determination to get the desired result. There is no room for panic and plunging to fast methods of weight loss. It is to make the method slow but sure. This way, the weight loss is permanent.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Overweight Children

by Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D.

Looking out over the yard during recess, Mrs. Nyeberg saw Adam standing apart from a group of the other children who were playing. She knew that once again Adam had been left out of their games. He was endlessly taunted about his weight by the other children and had very few friends at school. At 8 years old Adam was already 40 pounds heavier than the other children.

The Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 9 million children ages 6 to 19 years old are overweight or obese. In a frightening trend, this number has tripled since 1980. In this same time period, childhood obesity has doubled for preschoolers (2-5 years old) and adolescents (12-19 years).

This problem is not limited to the United States but is a growing epidemic in many countries. In a country that is seemingly obsessed with weight issues we should be declaring this issue a national emergency.

Ignoring the Issue

Believing that children may merely have "baby fat" or grow out of their weight problems is a fallacy. Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This number increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese.

UCSF researcher Robert Lustig, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF Children's Hospital notes in a review of obesity research that the Western diet is the key reason for childhood obesity.

Lustig offers that our high calorie, low fiber diets promote hormonal imbalances that encourage children to overeat. Other factors commonly attributed to the rise in obesity include frequent fast food dining, too little physical activity at school and home, larger portion sizes, and lack of sleep. Another key factor cited in numerous studies, and perhaps the most important - parents.

Parents

Parents play an important role in the growth, development, and socialization of children (Darling and Steinberg 1993). Additionally, overweight parents may pass on a combination of genetic predisposition to becoming overweight and unhealthy eating habits to their children. An Australian study showed that fathers who were permissive or disengaged were more likely to have children with a higher body mass index (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/70064.php).Obesity in children is far more than a vanity issue. Along with the rise in childhood obesity is a dramatic increase in diseases and conditions that were previously more prevalent in adults.

Health Problems

A new study revealed that obesity in adolescents is related with reduced heart functions and excessive cardiac mass. Combined with the tendency to become hypertensive this is a life threatening issue.

Being overweight puts a greater strain on the still developing bodies of children. Childhood obesity puts children at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, joint problems, sleep disorders and more. One in three obese children has excess fat in their liver. This excess fat could lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver failure. Not to mention the emotional toll on children who are subjected to teasing and/or isolation by their peers.

Seek Medical Help

Your physician can determine if your child's weight is healthy. The doctor will use a growth chart to compare your child's BMI to other children of the same age and sex.Cutoff points on these growth charts, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), help identify overweight children:

BMI-for-age between 85th and 95th percentiles - at risk of overweight
BMI-for-age over 95th percentile - overweight
Your doctor will also evaluate your family history, your child's calorie intake and eating habits, other health conditions, and activity level.

Dr. Kal

I was an overweight child and an obese teen. I understand the physical, emotional, and mental pain it can cause. On my blog, I will provide weight loss strategies for children and their parents. Stay tuned.

About the Author
Kalvin Chinyere, MD, fondly known as Dr. Kal, is a weight loss expert and the creator of The Don't Go Broke Diet. Dr. Kal once tipped the scale at over 330 pounds. Dr. Kal has since lost and kept off over 140 pounds naturally. Learn more at his weight loss blog and his weight loss program website.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Parents Can Do To Prevent Childhood Obesity

by Jimmy Travers

In the United States today, obesity has become an epidemic. More children today are overweight than ever before. There are a variety of reasons for this. Sometimes weight control is a genetic problem. More often than not, overweight children eat unhealthy diets and do not get enough exercise. As responsible parents, we need to do our part to ensure that our children live healthy lives.

How can we tell if our child is overweight or just has ‘baby fat’? There is no real answer to this question because they are one in the same. Baby fat turns into pre-teen fat, which becomes adult fat. Most elementary aged children that have some weight problems still have those weight problems at age 12. Further, overweight teens are much more likely to be overweight as adults than teens that live at a healthy weight.

Genetics we cannot control. However, as parents we should do everything in our power to control our children’s diet and exercise. This must begin at a very early age. When feeding a child as a baby, we should learn to recognize the signs that the baby has had enough. We should wait until the right time to introduce new food to our children and should be careful of what they eat. We also don't want to use the television as a babysitter. We should make time to spend with our children and be active together.

One thing you can do to prevent any problems is regularly take your child to see his doctor. Talk with the doctor about your child's weight and where he should be for his age. If you are concerned about your child's weight between regularly scheduled visits, do not hesitate to talk to the doctor about your concerns before things get out of hand.

Once you have discovered that your child has a weight problem, you want to do everything you can to address the problem today, so it is not a problem when he is an adult. Make exercise fun for your child. Spend time at the park or the pool, if your area has one. Most importantly, remember that children will imitate what they see their parents doing. Provide a good example for your kids by participating in activities with them and encourage them by giving positive reinforcement.

Here are a few other tips to consider:

• Be enthusiastic about healthy food and give a variety to select from.

• Introduce new foods gradually.

• Allow your child to help you select foods from the grocery store.

• Teach them how to read labels and choose healthy foods.

• Buy less junk food.

• Serve realistic portions.

• Enjoy conversations at the dinner table, not TV.

The main thing to remember about obesity is that it is much easier to prevent than to cure. Take every step possible to help your child have a healthy life, minimize junk food and inactivity, and prepare your kids for a healthy adulthood. There are a lot of programs out there that claim to cure obesity, and they can cost a lot of money. These programs are also often a last resort. Instead of waiting until you must use a last resort, do your part as a parent to prevent the problem in the first place.

About the Author
Jimmy Travers educates parents about fitness and weight loss camp options for their overweight children. Please visit his site for more information and reviews. Get more information regarding overweight children.

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