Sue Scheff: How Healthy is Your Teen?

Today Susan White is a guest Blogger with a great post about, How Healthy is Your Teen.

How Healthy is Your Teen?

By Susan White

My close friend and mother of two young boys (let’s call her G) was taken to task by both her mother and mother-in-law for the sole reason of getting her teen son to wake up an hour earlier each morning and taking a jog or going for a brisk walk on the treadmill. He had been a chubby baby, but what was cute as a kid was turning out to be both embarrassing and unhealthy as an adolescent. G took matters into her hands when she realized her son showed no inclination to join a sport or indulge in any form of exercise; she brought home a treadmill, and after a few persuasive talks (and bargaining sessions) with her son, she convinced him to get some exercise on it every day.

Mother and son would begin the day in the basement – G would go a few miles on the stationary bike while her son jogged along on the treadmill. They not only got in a good workout but also spent quality time together talking about school, friends and other issues. Now while G knew she was doing something good, the boy’s grandmothers were of the opinion that she was “torturing” their grandson by ruining his sleep, not giving him enough to eat, and forcing him to run on “that damn thing”. No amount of explanation from G was enough to convince them that she was only worried about his health and was trying to get him to become slimmer and fitter. So she did the next best thing – ignored them and their constant criticism and stuck to her guns about the daily routine. Within six months, the difference was visible and appreciable – G’s son had lost 20 pounds and gained a truckload of confidence.

While G is an example for all moms to follow, the problem with our country today is that we have more of the disapproving grandmothers than people like my friend. They are of the opinion that it is cruel to “force” a child to exercise and adapt to a healthy eating style. They think that they’re good parents only if they feed their children well and allow them to do as they please by way of entertainment. And so we have more and more households who are fostering obesity in teenagers rather than trying to battle and kill it at the roots.

The statistics are alarming – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, child obesity in the U.S. has tripled in the last three decades. From a reasonable 5 percent, the number of preteens and adolescents who are overweight and obese has ballooned to an 18.1 percent increase every year, a figure that does not bode well for both the general and financial health of our nation. We’re going to be spending an enormously large sum to provide healthcare for all the overweight teens who go on to become obese and unhealthy adults. And what’s worse is that no matter how much they spend, they’re bound to be plagued by health issues all through their life.  If this is not reason enough to ensure that your teen is not overweight, then what is?

It’s up to you to take charge of your teenager’s health; the effort you take today will go a long way in ensuring him/her a healthy and happy life.


This article is contributed by Susan White, who regularly writes on the subject of radiology technician schools. She invites your questions, comments at her email address:

Previous post by Susan White.

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