Teenage Obesity in Troubled Teens

Teenage Obesity in Troubled Teens
Teenage obesity has seen a major increase recently. With an increase in screen time and a reduction of physical activity, children and teens are gaining weight at an alarming rate. While teenage obesity is linked to numerous health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, it is also linked to various mental health problems.

If your child is struggling with teenage obesity, look for ways to help them adjust their habits to live a healthier lifestyle. While some families can do this on their own, others need the help of a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school. When the situation is severe, or when obesity is coupled with mental health problems, children can benefit from the care and guidance of trained professionals. Schools like Liahona Treatment Center specialize in helping troubled teens break their unhealthy habits and develop new, healthy ways of living.

Common Causes Of Teenage Obesity

Unhealthy Eating Habits
Now more than ever, it’s easy for children and teens to eat junk food rather than eating a balanced diet. Food heavy in fat, sugar, and salt typically lacks nutritional value. Encourage your teen to eat healthy food and, as often as possible, ensure that there is healthy food available at home.

Lack Of Exercise
Children and teens spend most of their day inside without much movement. Whether they’re in class at school or in front of a screen at home, children don’t get as much exercise as they used to. Try to limit the amount of time that your child spends sitting inside and encourage them to get involved in a fun physical activity.

Negative Coping Skills
Many children reach middle school and high school without developing positive coping skills and stress-management techniques. Eating can be a stress-management technique for teens trying to cope with the stressors of school. Help your child develop positive stress-management techniques and talk through the issues that are upsetting them.

Lack Of Nutritional Education
Children need to be taught about proper nutrition. When left to decide on their meals and snacks on their own, they will fall back to food that tastes good even if it’s unhealthy. If your child has not learned about the importance of eating healthy, they may not understand why they should eat better and exercise more. Educate your child about the importance of proper nutrition and regular exercise.

Teenage Obesity And Mental Health

Studies have shown that children and teens with obesity are also more likely to struggle with mental health issues like depression and defiant behavior. Overall, girls in middle school and high school tend to struggle more with depression than boys. However, boys with obesity tend to struggle with depression more than boys of average weight.

Also, according to WebMD, children and teens with childhood obesity are over twice as likely to develop Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Though it is more common in boys overall, both boys and girls with obesity are more likely to show signs of ODD.

Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder include:

  • Consistently refusing to follow rules or requests
  • Excessive arguing (especially with anyone in authority)
  • Throwing temper tantrums
  • Purposefully trying to annoy or upset others
  • Displaying mean or spiteful behavior
  • Consistently blaming others for their own mistakes

When teens suffer from a combination of obesity and mental health problems, overcoming obesity becomes especially difficult. Not only do they have to learn new fitness habits, but they also have to address and overcome their mental health problems. If those struggles are intertwined for your child, you may need help from professional therapists and counselors.

Liahona Treatment Center recognizes that there is a strong connection between the mind and body. When students learn to take care of their bodies and live a healthier lifestyle, they show signs of increased self-worth and positivity. Learning to take care of their physical health helps students learn to take better care of their mental health as well. For this reason, students at Liahona Treatment Center engage in daily physical fitness programs and nutrition education. Contact us today for more information about our programs for treating teenage obesity or review our troubled teen program outline for further information.

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