We know that being active and moving our bodies helps us feel better. For a teenager with obesity, though, physical activity can be a source of frustration. Movement can be difficult!
With the encouragement and support of the entire family, teens with obesity can successfully get more activity in their life. And it’s a step toward healthy living that is good for the whole family.
Tips for Becoming More Active
- Think activity, not exercise: Movement is the goal, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of a structured exercise class or program. Approached this way, the goal seems achievable. Walking counts. So does bicycling, dancing, even walking the dog.
- Do things that teens enjoy: Mom and Dad, this is where you can help be a guide. If your teen is artistic, suggest a tour of a local museum or a hike to collect leaves for a collage. A walk or bike ride to the local park to relax and read a book.
- Stronger together: Do activities as a family, and take turns choosing — bowling, swimming, soccer in the backyard, whatever the family likes doing together.
- Limit screen time. Other than school work, screen time should be no more than two hours a day. This is another opportunity for parents to be good role models. Everyone in the family should put phones, tablets and laptops away during meals and at bedtime.
- Fitness trackers help: Research suggests that wearable electronic fitness trackers may help teens set goals and self-monitor activity levels. Set a daily steps goal for the whole family, and track each family member’s progress. Compete for the right to choose the next fun family activity.
Teens with obesity can find a successful path to better health with the support of parents, family and physicians.
If that path ultimately leads to weight-loss surgery, the experts at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital adolescent weight-loss surgery program can help teens ages 15-17 (with parental consent) determine if it is the right choice for them. Learn more>